March 9 1815: “Long Live the King!”

On March 9 1815, Comte d’Artois in Lyon tries to rally French soldiers. It did not work:

“ Soldiers, “France, proud of your long victories, enjoyed in security the delights of peace. The King, my brother, knew that with such an army there was no enemy he need fear; but he did not think that he should have to turn his arms against a man who, after having long been your chief, had compromised your glory by reverses, arising only from his own mad ambition, and who, forced to yield to the just decrees of Providence, seemed as if he wished to dignify his fall, by appearing to sacrifice his authority for the welfare of France. He solemnly disengaged you from the oath which you had taken to him.— On our side all the engagements entered into with him were faithfully executed, and the generous confidence of the King respected his misfortunes in the asylum which he had chosen.

“ Meanwhile, soldiers, France began to repair her losses, and to re-nrganise the army. The King had maintained it upon as large an establishment as the state of the finances would permit. All those who could not be employed, enjoyed a competent pension, until they could be put again upon active service. You swore, with transport, fidelity and devotion to the descendants of those Kings, under whom your forefathers founded that military glory of France, which you have elevated to so high a pitch. Suddenly, a cry was heard, Bonaparte has landed on our territory—He brings with him a handful of men, the associates of his disasters, and it is with those feeble means that he hopes again to impose his yoke upon a great nation, which he has himself abandoned, after having precipitated it to the very brink of ruin. Soldiers, he calumniates you! He avows that he relies upon your defection; he uses every effort to seduce you. Is it because he had betrayed his engagements, that he dares to think you will betray yours? Is it to French soldiers that he presumes to propose they should violate their oaths, lacerate the bosom of their country, and separate their interests from those of the citizens ? Has there not been enough of your blood shed? His cruel fury, which has inundated all the plains of Europe, does it now wish to drench even the soil of France by our own hands ? Soldiers, you shudder—they would arm you against your brethren, and while you aimed, with sorrow, those guilty blows, our dear France, deprived of her defenders, would become the easy prey of foreigners, ready to profit by our civil discords.
“ Soldiers! you will disappoint these criminal projects: we will march together against the enemy ; you will see around me those brave generals, the veteran companions of your glory, under whom you have been accustomed to conquer. Son of the good Henry the Fourth, that valiant King, that father of his people and of his soldiers, I address to you, with confidence, those words, which were, to him, the happy prelude of victory :-—‘ Wherever you see my white plume, follow it ; it is the road to honour.’
“ Long live the King!
“ CHARLES-PHILIP.” “ Lyon, March 9, 1815.”

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