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inform him of this answer, and to acquaint him that the troops would go the next morning at 12 o'clock to take possession of the King of the Netherlands' pictures; and to point out that, if any disturbance resulted from this measure, the King's Ministers, and not I, were responsible. Colonel Fremantle likewise informed M. Denon that the same measure would be adopted.

'It was not necessary, however, to send the troops, as a Prussian guard had always remained in possession of the gallery, and the pictures were taken, without the necessity of calling for those of the army under my command, excepting as a working party to assist in taking them down and packing them.

'It has been stated that, in being the instrument of removing the pictures belonging to the King of the Netherlands from the Gallery of the Tuileries, I had been guilty of a breach of a treaty which I had myself made; and, as there is no mention of the museums in the treaty of the 25th March, and it now appears that the treaty meant is the military Convention of Paris, it is necessary to show how that Convention affects the Museum.

* It is not now necessary to discuss the question whether the Allies were, or not, at war with France. There is no doubt whatever that their armies entered Paris under a military Convention, concluded with an officer of the Government, the Prefect of the department of the Scine, and an officer of the army, being a representative of each of the authorities existing at Paris at the moment, and authorised by those authorities to treat and conclude for them.

• The article of the Convention, which it is supposed has been broken, is the eleventh, which relates to public property. I positively deny that this article referred at all to the museums, or galleries of pictures.

* The French commissioners, in the original project, proposed an article to provide for the security of this description of property. Prince Blücher would not consent to it, as he said there were pictures in the gallery which had been taken from Prussia, and which His Majesty Louis XVIII. had promised to restore, but which had never been restored. I stated this circumstance to the French commissioners, and they then offered to adopt the article with an exception of the Prussian pictures. To this offer I answered that I stood there as the ally of all the nations in Europe, and anything that was granted to Prussia, I must claim for other nations. I added that I had no instructions regarding the Museum, nor any grounds on which to form a judgment how the Sovereigns would act; that they certainly would insist upon the King's performing his engagements; and that I recommended that the article should be omitted altogether, and that the question should be reserved for the decision of the Sovereigns when they should arrive.

Thus the question regarding the Museum stands under the treaties. The Convention of Paris is silent upon it, and there was a communication

upon the subject which reserved the decision for the Sovereigns.

* Supposing

Supposing the silence of the Treaty of Paris of May, 1814, regarding the Museum, gave the French Government an undisputed claim to its contents upon all future occasions, it will not be denied that this claim was shaken by this transaction.

Those who acted for the French Government, at the time, considered that the successful army had a right to, and would, touch the contents of the Museum, and they made an attempt to save them by an article in the military Convention. This article was rejected, and the claim of the Allies to their pictures was broadly advanced by the negotiators on their part; and this was stated as the ground for rejecting the article. Not only, then, the military Convention did not in itself guarantee the possession, but the transaction above recited tended to weaken the claim to the possession by the French Government, which is founded upon the silence of the Treaty of Paris of May, 1814.

• The Allies then, having the contents of the Museum justly in their power, could not do otherwise than restore them to the countries from which, contrary to the practice of civilised warfare, they had been torn during the disastrous period of the French Revolution and the tyranny of Buonaparte.

• The conduct of the Allies regarding the Museum, at the period of the Treaty of Paris, might be fairly attributed to their desire to conciliate the French army, and to consolidate the reconciliation with Europe, which the army at that period manifested a disposition to effect. But the circumstances are now entirely different. The army

disappointed the reasonable expectation of the world, and seized the earliest opportunity of rebelling against their Sovereign, and of giving their services to the common enemy of mankind, with a view to the revival of the disastrous period which had passed, and of the scenes of plunder which the world had made such gigantic efforts to get rid of.

This army having been defeated by the armies of Europe, they have been disbanded by the united counsel of the Sovereigns, and no reason can exist why the Powers of Europe should do injustice to their own subjects with a view to conciliate them again. Neither has it ever appeared to me to be necessary that the Allied Sovereigns should omit this opportunity to do justice and to gratify their own subjects, in order to gratify the people of France.

The feeling of the people of France upon this subject must be one of national vanity only. It must be a desire to retain these specimens of the arts, not because Paris is the fittest depository for them, as, upon that subject, artists, connoisseurs, and all who have written upon it, agree that the whole ought to be removed to their ancient seat, but because they were obtained by military concessions, of which they are the trophies.

The same feelings which induce the people of France to wish to retain the pictures and statues of other nations would naturally induce other nations to wish, now that success is on their side, that the proVol. 117.--No. 234.




perty should be returned to their rightful owners; and the Allied Sovereigns must feel a desire to gratify them.

• It is, besides, on many accounts, desirable, as well for their own happiness as for that of the world, that the people of France, if they do not already feel that Europe is too strong for them, should be made sensible of it; and that, whatever may be the extent, at any time, of their momentary and partial success against any one, or any number of individual powers in Europe, the day of retribution must


Not only, then, would it, in my opinion, be unjust in the Sovereigns to gratify the people of France on this subject, at the expense of their own people, but the sacrifice they would make would be impolitic, as it would deprive them of the opportunity of giving the people of France a great moral lesson.'*

This remarkable letter was endorsed by the approval of the British Government, as will be seen in a quotation from a letter of ember 29th to Lord Castlereagh from Lord Liverpool, whose judgment throughout had been as steady as it was sound:

* We have been most truly gratified with reading the Duke of Wellington's letter to you on the subject of removing the pictures, &c., from the Museum. It is a most satisfactory statement throughout, and will, I trust, sooner or later, meet the public eye.

'I shall be most happy to hear that the statues and pictures belonging to the Vatican are packed up. It is become now of the utmost importance that our principle should be carried through consistently. We cannot irritate the French more by completing our work than we have by beginning it; and, as I have stated to you in a former letter, there is more safety, in my judgment, in a general removal of the whole plunder than in one which is only partial.'

Again, he adds later, to the Duke himself, October 2nd :

• I had the greatest satisfaction in reading your letter to Lord Castlereagh, on the measures which had been adopted with respect to the pictures and statues in the Museum at Paris. The case is complete ; and I trust your letter will sooner or later meet the public eye.'-Vol. xi. p. 182.

That wish has now been realised ; and no one either in France or elsewhere is justified in asserting that the Louvre was dismembered in defiance of treaties. A poet, like Casimir Delavigne, may be pardoned the lines on the Devastation du Musée et des Monumens,' which appeared in his · Masséniennes,' especially as they are of very indifferent merit; but one who assumes to be an historian like Lamartine knows better than to continue this language.


* Selections from the "Despatches,' &c., of the Duke of Wellington. New edition. London, 1851, p. 897.


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Some pardonable petulance was shown at the time, as described by Lord Castlereagh, who writes thus on the 21st Sept. :

The spoliation of the Louvre is begun. The King of the Netherlands is hard at work; Austria begins immediately; and I believe the three Powers that is, Austria, Prussia, and Great Britain—if called upon by the Pope's Commissioner, Canova, will unite to enable him to remove his master's property. The Emperor of Russia will not, I hope, take any further part in opposition to the sentiments of his allies. The French, of all parties, are very sore, and they were foolish enough, at Madame de Duras', the other night, to resent it to the Duke of Wellington in the most pointed manner; but we are going straight forward.'— Vol. xi.


167. We pass over now the painful time when working parties' relieved each other in the strange duties, the sounds of which reverberated through those proud halls; when long spaces of dirty blue wall daily increased in size; when travellers, hastening

; over, chiefly from England, arrived only in time to see the • Transfiguration' in the act of being lowered; when pictures which, for the first time since leaving the same studio, had hung side by side, now parted to meet no more; when, in the words of the author of Paris Revisited,' the Louvre took the melancholy, confused, desolate air of a large auction-room after a day's sale; and yet when a Frenchman, even in the midst of his sorrow, had his pithy joke, saying, as he pointed to the empty frames strewing the floors, ' Nous ne leur aurions pas laissés même les cadres.'

Various reasons have been alleged for the retention of the great Marriage of Cana,' by Paul Veronese, in the Tribune, and principally that it was impossible to detach it from the walls, and that it was too vast and too dilapidated to bear a second journey. The last was doubtless the truer cause.

The really disgraceful part of the transaction was that the Austrians readily accepted a picture by Lebrun, in return for one of the most important examples, in every sense, of the Venetian school. No one will grudge the French this victory over the stolid Viennese envoy; but when the Venetians reckon


their insults and injuries from their German rulers, this pretended exchange may well take a place among them.

It has been stated that the lists of objects to be reclaimed were, especially on the part of the Italians, made out with so little attention that a considerable number of valuable items were omitted. This was, to a certain extent, true ; but there was method in the omissions, and small blame to the French for profiting by them. All the so-called primitive schools,' then deemed barbarous, but including many pictures now recognised as some of the choicest



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ornaments of the Louvre, were, from contempt, or grudging of expense of transport, left behind. Such works as the Coronation of the Virgin,' by Fra Angelico; the "Madonna della Vittoria’ and the Crucifixion,' by Mantegna ; the Visitation,' by Ghirlandajo; the Virgin and Saints,' by Fra Filippo Lippi; and all the pictures by Perugino, were abandoned by their ungrateful owners to the ci-devant

without even the

grace of a gift. Not that the French of the day were particularly grateful. That they knew little of the value of these precious objects is proved by the readiness with which they had presented many of this class to the provincial museums. This is why we see the fine works by Mantegna at Tours, and why specimens of Perugino—some of them of the finest quality-may be found in such places as Caen, Toulouse, Nancy, Marseilles, Lyons, and other country collections. Once there they were doubly forgotten.

The removal of the sculpture began later, and occupied a longer time. With the love for sculpture, real and artificial,

. traditional in the Gallic race, and revived by David's pictures and the coiffure à l'antique,' the French took this part of their loss more to heart than that of the pictures. Walter Scott says that as the time approached for the dethroning of such statues as the Venus, the Apollo, the Discobolus, &c., from their pedestals, the people talked to them, knelt to them, wept to them, and bade them adieu, as if they were, indeed, restored to the rank of idols.

It would be interesting, if we had space, to follow the exiles to their homes again. Suffice it to say that in most places they were received with fêtes; and, especially in Antwerp and Bologna, were publicly exhibited to a generation who had grown up without them. Bologna forbore to return them to the treacherous keeping of the Church, and the gallery there owes its formation to that time.

As for the deserted walls of the Louvre, no nation was better able than the French worthily to cover them again. Pictures of interest, which had retired before the late noble guests, were restored to their places. The royal palaces rendered up a still further supply of forgotten treasures. The series by Rubens, originally from the Luxembourg, with the Le Sueurs, the Vernets, and a number of excellent French pictures which had belonged to incient Paris churches, helped to fill up gaps ; and, with the Flories of l'ancienne collection,' no less than 1113 pictures were soon displayed on the walls. To these Louis XVIII. added by purchase 111 works; Charles X. twenty-four more; and Louis Philippe, while creating the gorgeous galleries à toutes les


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