Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Louis XVIII., brother of Louis XVI., was, during the reign of the latter, known as "Monsieur" and Comte de Provence. After leaving Paris in 1792, he did not, like the Comte d'Artois, join the emigres, but passed the years of his exile at Hartwell, in Buckinghamshire. On the abdication of Napoleon in 1814 he was restored, and on June 2 published the charter of a new constitution, by which constitutional government was established, but the king reserved the initiation of legislation. On the news of the landing of Napoleon in the following March, and the desertion to him of Ney and Soult, Louis fled to Ghent, but returned to Paris after Waterloo. Though compelled by the clamour of the ultra-Royalists to dismiss Talleyrand and Fouche and to put Ney to death, Louis was determined not to be too reactionary. The moderate Ministry of the Duc de Richelieu was strengthened by the diminution of the indemnity to be paid by France and by the evacuation of her territory five years before the time agreed upon. In addition to this, France was readmitted to the councils of the Great Powers; but the policy of moderation was destined to failure. The Chamber of Deputies had to be renewed to the extent of a fifth annually, and when in 1818 Lafayette, Manuel, and Benjamin Constant were returned, Decazes succeeded Richelieu as head of a purely Liberal ministry. The censorship of the press was abolished, and 60 new peers were created in order to obviate opposition from the Upper House. By Villele, however, the law respecting the renewing of the Chamber was repealed, and it was empowered to sit for 7 years, and the Comte d'Artois became virtually ruler of France. Their Government also gained prestige by a successful intervention in Spain in 1823, by which Ferdinand VII. was enabled to hold his own against the Liberals. In 1824 Louis XVIII. died, and his brother became the nominal as well as real ruler of France.