Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Kay's Edinburgh Portraits
The Duc D'Angouleme, in Edinburgh

The Due D'Angouleme, eldest son of Charles X., was born in 1775. He accompanied his father, then Count D'Artois, to this country in 1796; and resided with him for several years at the Palace of Holy-rood. The Print, executed in 1797, affords a fair likeness of the young Due D'Angouleme. Small as his figure is, in contrast with Colonel Aytoun, it is considered even too stout hy those who recollect him at that early period. In height he was not above five feet four, extremely slender in figure, and of a quiet, easy manner; presenting a strong contrast to his brother, the Due de Berri, who, in the words of an old inhabitant of the Abbey-Hill, was a " stout, country-looking, curly-headed, stirring boy."

The marriage of the Due d'Angouleme, in 1799, to his cousin, the only daughter of the ill-fated Louis XVI., was celebrated in Courland, once an independent duchy, but since 1795 attached to Russia. The Duke and Duchess sojourned for some time afterwards in Sweden, where they were visited by the Count d'Artois in 1804. During the war with Napoleon, they continued in active concert with the Allies. and endeavoured, by every possible means, to create a reaction of popular feeling in France. The Duke himself was \>y no means well qualified, either physically or mentally, to act in extraordinary times; but he found an able substitute in the Duchess, whose talents, activity and spirit, elicited the well-known remark of Napoleon, that she was "the only man in the family!"

With the exception of entering France at the head of the British army, in 1814—appearing publicly at Bordeaux, to rouse the loyalty of the inhabitants—and bravely continuing in arms after the landing of Napoleon at Frejus on the 20th of March, 1815, the Due d'Angouleme took no prominent part in the eventful circumstances which led to the re-establishment of his family on the throne of France. Devoutly sincere in his religious principles, but of an inactive and unambitious temper, he seldom intermeddled with politics during his father's reign ; and when the events of the Three Days compelled Charles to abdicate, he waved his rights in favour of his nephew, the young Due cle Bordeaux.

On quitting the shores of France, Charles X., then in his seventy-third year, appears to have at once contemplated returning to the Palace of Holyrood—the scene of his former exile, and where he had experienced many years of comparative happiness. With this view, he applied to the British Government, which granted the permission solicited ; and after a short residence in England, he arrived at Edinburgh on the 20th of October, 1830. He and his suite, including the young Due de Bordeaux and the Due de Polignac, were conveyed from Poole in an Admiralty yacht, and landed at Newhaven. The ex-king not having been expected for several days, there were few people on the beach. By those assembled, however, he was received with a degree of respect scarcely to have been expected in the then excited state of the public mind. Amongst those that pressed forward to bid him welcome was a jolly Newhaven fishwoman, who, pushing everyone aside, seized the hand of the King as he was about to enter his carriage, and, with hearty shake, exclaimed, "Oh, sir, I'm happy to see ye again among decent folk." Charles smiled, and asking her name, she replied, "My name's Kirsty Ramsay, sir, and mony a guid fish I ha'e gi'en ye, sir; and mony a guid shilling I ha'e got for't thirty years sin syne."

On the Saturday following his arrival, a dinner was given to between thirty and forty respectable citizens, by several of the ex-monarch's old tradesmen, in honour of his return to Edinburgh. The entertainment took place in Johnston's Tavern, Abbey. After dinner, the party repaired to the Palace Square, and serenaded its inhabitants with "Should auld acquaintance be forgot," which was excellently sung in parts by about twenty individuals. Three cheers followed the conclusion of the song.

The Due and Duchesse d'Angouleme, having travelled incognito by land, arrived at Douglas' Hotel on the 27th of October. From thence, in the course of a few days, they removed to No. 21 Eegent Terrace, where they passed the winter, as apartments in Holyrood-House had not been prepared for them.

Besides the parties already mentioned, the Duchesse de Berri, the Baron de Damas, the Marquis de Barbancois, the Abbe de Moligny, and several other persons of high rank, were in the train of the King, most of whom maintaining separate establishments in various quarters of the city, the expenditure thus occasioned amongst the merchants and tradesmen of Edinburgh must have been very great. There were in all a hundred persons in his suite.

To the poor of the Canongate Charles was extremely liberal, causing a daily supply of provisions to be distributed ; and he allowed his medical attendant, Dr. Bugon, a considerable sum weekly to procure medicine for poor patients, who also received advice gratis from this distinguished physician. Nor was the generosity of his Majesty limited to the immediate locality of the Palace. Both he and other members of the family contributed frequently and liberally to the funds of the Poor's House, the House of Refuge, and other charities. They also gave a handsome donation for the purpose of educating the children of the poor Irish resident in Edinburgh.

"Whilst they resided in this city, the conduct of the illustrious exiles was unobtrusive and exemplary. Charles himself, it was remarked, appeared thoughtful and melancholy. He frequently walked in Queen Mary's Garden, being probably pleased by its seclusion, and proximity to the Palace. Here, with a book in his hand, he used to pass whole hours in retirement; sometimes engaged in the perusal of the volume, and anon stopping short, apparently absorbed in deep reflection. In dress and appearance on these occasions, he had very much the appearance of a plain country gentleman, though he who paused to look again might* easily discover in his bearing and manner enough to recall the remembrance of his high lineage and unexampled misfortunes.

Charles sometimes indulged in a walk through the city ; but the crowds of people that usually followed him, anxious to gratify their curiosity, in some measure detracted from the pleasure of these perambulations. "When he first appeared in this manner a few days after his arrival, he escaped observation for sometime; but in Hanover Street the crowd became so great that, though not the slightest insult was offered to him, he deemed it prudent to abridge his walk; and, passing along the Mound returned to the Palace by the High Street and Canongate. With the exception of a slight stoop, the King appeared so little altered since he had formerly sojourned in Edinburgh, that many old people easily recognised him. Though far advanced in years, he walked with a firm step; and his health and strength was such that he often went on shooting excursions, accompanied by the Due d'Angouleme and his suite; sometimes crossing the ferry to Fordel, the estate of Sir Philip Durham, but more frequently enjoying himself on the property of the Earl of Wemyss. That his Majesty was an excellent shot, the quantity of game brought home to Holy-rood House amply testified. In Dalmeny Park, on one occasion, he bagged thirty-six pheasants, besides hares and partridges, in an incredibly short space of time.

In their habits and general deportment, the Due and Duchesse d'Angouleme—or, more properly speaking, the Dauphin and Dauphi-ness—were as unostentatious as his Majesty. Early in the morning of a market-day they might be met arm-in-arm perambulating the Canongate and High Street, apparently much interested in the busy scene around them; the one attired in an old blue great-coat, the other enveloped in in a cloak, or mantle, not much superior in appearance. Unlike the Duke, however, the Duchess was a well-proportioned, active-looking woman. The former, strict in his religious observances, was a regular attendant at mass ; the latter employed more of her time in the perusal of books, or in carrying on a correspondence with the friends of the family in France.

Arthur's Seat and the King's Park afforded many a solitary walk to the exiled party, and they seemed much delighted with their residence. It was evident from the first that Charles, when he sought the shores of Scotland, intended to make Holyrood House his home; and it may be imagined how keenly he felt on finding himself, after a residence of nearly two years, under the necessity of removing to another country. Full of the recollections of former days, which time had not effaced from his memory, he said he had anticipated spending the remainder of his days in the Scottish capital, and laying his bones amongst the dust of our ancient Kings in the Chapel of Holyrood.

The unexpected departure of Charles and his suite is ascribed to a remonstrance addressed by Louis Philippe to the British Government, which, having recognised the latter as King of the French, felt it necessary to discountenance the foreign correspondence alleged to have been carried on by the royal inmates of Holyrood. The order, though couched in polite language, is understood to have been imperative, namely, either to discontinue all political intercourse, or leave the British dominions. The ex-king felt inclined to submit to these hard conditions rather than seek an asylum elsewhere ; but the Duchesse d'Angouleme, and other members of the family, were indignant at a proceeding which- they deemed equally inhospitable and insulting; whilst the cold and almost repulsive reception given to the Due de Blacas iu London, led them to regard this as the forerunner of some measure of a still harsher kind. In these circumstances, they decided to accept the kind invitation of the Emperor of Austria to take up their abode in one of the imperial palaces near Ratisbon.

"When it became known that the royal exiles were on the eve of their departure from Edinburgh, a general feeling of regret was manifested by the inhabitants. Charles had intended embarking early in September 1832; but, in daily expectation of a government yacht, which had been promised to carry him to Hamburg, a delay of several weeks occurred; and at length, despairing of the fulfilment of a promise which had evidently been reluctantly given, he engaged the United Kingdom steam-ship for the voyage.

Tuesday, the 18th of September, having been fixed for his Majesty's departure, various methods were adopted by the citizens to show their respect for the fallen Sovereign, whose private virtues had dignified and even ennobled his misfortunes. On the Saturday previous, the tradesmen, who had been employed by the ex-royal family, entertained the members of the household at dinner in Millar's tavern, Abbey. In reply to the expressions of regret for their departure, the Frenchmen said "they regretted the separation, the more especially as they had just been long enough here to form friendships, which were now to be torn asunder. If they did not return to France, there was no place on the face of the earth where they would be more anxious to remain than at Edinburgh."

On Monday, an address, from a considerable portion of the inhabitants, was presented to Charles X. by Bailie Small, and the Rev. Mr. Badenoch, expressive of the sentiments they entertained of the "urbanity, beneficence, and virtuous conduct, manifested by his Majesty, and the distinguished personages attached to his suite, during their residence in Edinburgh." Charles was much affected, and, in a few sentences, expressed the gratification he felt in receiving such a mark of respect from the citizens of Edinburgh.

Early on Tuesday morning, a deputation, consisting of the Lord Provost, Colonel George Macdonell, John Menzies, Esq., of Pitfodels, Mr. (now Sir Charles) Gordon, William Forbes, Esq., advocate, John Robison, Esq., Secretary of the Royal Society, Dr. Browne, advocate, and several other gentlemen waited, by appointment, on his Majesty, to present another address, which had been signed by Provost Lear-month, in the name of the inhabitants generally. This address, which afterwards excited so great a sensation, both in this country and on the Continent, was drawn up by Dr. Browne ; and that his Majesty might be fully aware of its contents, a French translation had been placed in his hands the previous evening. After a few words from the Lord Provost, Dr. Browne proceeded to read the address, at one part of which, containing a touching allusion to the Due de Bordeaux, Charles was almost overcome by his emotions. "I am unable," said his Majesty, "to express myself in English ; but this (clasping the address to his heart) I will conserve as amongst the most precious possessions of my family." He then shook hands cordially with the members of the deputation, all of whom retired, except some few friends who waited to hear mass in the Oratory, which was celebrated by the Rev. Mr. (now Bishop) Gillis. When the service terminated, a great many ladies and gentlemen of fashion paid their respects to his Majesty, the Due d'Angouleme, and the young Due de Bordeaux, who was a great favourite. In the hall of the Palace a large party were also in waiting, with all of whom the King shook hands and bade them adieu. On the outside, the Palace yard was filled with people, many of whom wore white favours; and when the royal exiles appeared in the court, they were greeted with cheers and the waving of handkerchiefs. The royal party then drove to Newhaven, where an immense crowd had assembled. The Society of Newhaven Fishermen, with Thomas Wilson at their head, formed a sort of body-guard, keeping clear the entrance to the Chain-Pier, which was crowded with a large assemblage of respectable persons, a great number of whom were ladies. After shaking hands with many who pressed forward to testify their respect, the royal party proceeded along the pier, and descending the steps, which were covered with white cloth, they embarked on board the Dart, and were speedily conveyed to the United Kingdom, which, commanded by Mr. Paton of Leith, almost instantly proceeded to sea.

A few gentlemen, amongst whom were Colonel Macdonnel, the Rev. Mr. Gillis, John P^obison, Esq., and Dr. Browne, accompanied his Majesty to the steamship, which they did not leave until she was under weigh. The distress of the King, and particularly of the Dauphin, at being obliged to quit a country to which they were so warmly attached, was in the highest degree affecting. The Due de Bordeaux wept bitterly; and the Dae d'Angouleme, embracing Mr. Gillis a la Francaise, gave unrestrained scope to his overpowering emotions. The act of parting with one so beloved, whom he had known and distinguished in the salons of the Tuileries and St. Cloud, long before his family had sought an asylum in the tenantless halls of Holyrood, quite overcame his fortitude, and excited feelings too powerful to be repressed. When this ill-fated family bade adieu to our shores, they carried with them the grateful benedictions of the poor, and the respect of all men of all parties, who honour misfortune, when ennobled by virtue.

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus