Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Entente-Cordiale

. Thursday, April 8, 2010

For a long time the British Empire had been on unfriendly terms with the revolutionary republic, with very good reason.

On this day, however, 106 years ago – April 8, 1904 – this would end. His Britannic Majesty entered as a party to the Entente-Cordiale with the revolutionary republic. Yes, that's the one. With the “Republic of France.”

Bernard PartridgeA decade and a few months away were the fateful shots heard around the world from Sarjevo. And the British Empire was eventually to be on the same side as the revolutionary republic in that Great War that was to put an end to the Old Order that was.


Patrick said...

It is a wonderful cartoon, but really, what a lot of nonsense!

The British and the French had already been in an alliance of convenience in the Crimean war. While there was a steady tension between the two nations, including an intense naval rivalry, there were never any wars between Britain and France during either the Bourbon Restoration periods, or under Louis-Napoleon as President then Emperor.

The Third Republic of France, far from it being a revolutionary republic, was born out of a national compromise after the disaster of the Franco-Prussian war.

In 1870 the French Empire declared war upon Prussia. Although the standing army of France was larger than that of Prussia and her allies, the railways and superior organisation of the German States allowed for a swift mobilisation. This quickly destroyed the field armies of France in Lorraine, resulted in the capture of the Emperor's person and precipitaed the fall of the Empire after almost 22 years of Louis-Napoleon's rule.

The Government of National Defence was formed in a coup d'etat by various forces sickened by the failure of the Empire and by its general rule. Some of these figures were openly Republican, such as Gambetta, but some were Orléanists such as Trochu. In large part, the Government of National Defence was composed of Conservatives.

Ultimately, their defensive efforts failed after a grisly siege at Paris and the French Government agreed upon reparations. The ineffectiveness of the defence combined with the punitive taxes imposed to pay-off the Prussians into leaving France led to city-based revolutions across France.

In France as a whole, the elections of February 1871 actually resulted in a monarchist majority in the assembly, this because the terror of the revolutionary Republicans was present in the minds of a great many people and of course recent events had made the Bonaparte faction unelectable.

After a German victory parade, the city of Paris was vacated by both the Germans and the French government. The French Government sensed revolution in the air in Paris and they set up in Versailles.

Soon after, two French Generals were killed by their own troops in Paris and Government control was lost. The "Paris Commune" was declared by the radical "Central Committee of the National Guard": dissafected republican soldiers from Paris. They adopted the republican calendar and flew the red banner over Paris in place of the tricolor. This rebellion was put down relatively quickly by Government loyalist troops that had been released from captivity by an alarmed Prussia, but it was a bloody suppression. (The Sacre-Coeur in Paris was built in order to "expiate the crimes of the communards".)

Even though there was a Monarchist majority in the French Assembly, there was to be no King restored to the French throne. The Bourbon house had been overthrown in 1789, restored in 1815 and had shifted sideways to another branch after the 1830 revolution and had again been overthrown in 1848. The choice was thus not at all obvious. The new assembly compromised that the childless Comte de Chambord would be recognised as king, with the Comte de Paris recognised as his heir. However the Comte de Chambord refused the throne because he didn't want to be a British style constitutional monarch and he rejected the Tricolor. Accordingly, the set-up for the monarchists was to provide for a temporary republic until the Comte de Paris was able to ascend to the throne (i.e. the Comte de Chambord's death). However Chambord lived until 1883 and by that time, the Monachists, conservatives, liberals, socialists and radicals were deep in competition and the restoration never occurred.

Looking at the Third Republic, it is almost impossible to conclude that it was a "revolutionary" government. Rather it was the expression of nearly a century of revolutions and coups d'etat requiring some kind of non-revolutionary compromise. There had been variously since the revolution:


Patrick said...


The National Convention
The Directory
The Consulate
The Empire (1st)
The House Of Bourbon (Restored)
The Empire (1st, Restored)
The House Of Bourbon (Restored 2nd time)
The July Monarchy
The Second Republic
The Empire (2nd)
The Government of National Defence

In the 82 years since the revolution there had been 11 different forms of government and the country had been in extensive European wars under both the first revolution and both Empires that had ultimately ruined the economy and cost many deaths.

That the King refused to accept the throne is to be lamented, but tant pis.

Regarding the Entente Cordiale, this was a brilliant move by Edward. He knew from intimate family connections that the Kaiser was a loose cannon and that he would simply not listen or be persuaded by reasonable argument from anyone. Edward used his own personal knowledge of Paris and French culture to charm the French into an alliance that would have been unlikely if proposed by a diplomat, with the memory of the Fashoda humiliation fresh in the French mind.

The Russian, Austrian and Turkish Empires were all holy Empires and their passing is regrettable on so many levels. However, their ineffectiveness during the war and their close alliance with the very effective and war-mongering German Empire doomed them. The House of Windsor has survived sweeping changes by doing their duty and adapting to current conditions. This marks the crown of St Edward out from the rest, continuing to rule over 16 independent states while other crowns are now mere state relics.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Thank you for your lengthy, enlightening comment, sir!

However, I still stand by what I said about the revolutionary republic. I am fully aware of the monarchist majority in 1871.

In 1904, there were 3 republics in Europe, namely the ancient ones of Switzerland and San Marino, and the revolutionary republic -- although, as you have pointed out, and I was aware, it was not technically the same republic that was initially the result of the French Revolution.

We still have much heritage from that revolution in Europe and the world, all but totally emasculated monarchs being a part of that heritage.

The British monarchs, admittedly, did not offer much resistance to the regal emasculation revolution, which -- again admittedly -- was less violent in Great Britain than on the other side of the Channel. We celebrate here at this blog the 16 Crowns worn by Her Britannic Majesty, and it is highly unlikely that any republican alternative would be any better.

However, the said emasculation revolution is to be regretted. It is also to be regretted that the British Empire ended up on the wrong side of that revolution in the Great War, something that significantly contributed to the revolution's success.

BTW, as for your comment about the war-free periods of Great Britain and France, I never made a claim to the contrary.

Patrick said...

Dear Sir,

thank you for your kind reply. I think we still find ourselves in disagreement!

Of course, the Republic of France was and is revolutionary, in that it was brought about by a series of revolutions. However, by 1871 the republic was not institutionally revolutionary but conservative, the King having rejected his own throne. The government of France in 1904 was not conservative, being ruled by the Bloc des Gauches which was extremely anti-clerical. While the British Prime Minister in 1904 was the Conservative Arthur Balfour, from 1905 the UK was ruled by the Liberal Party under Henry Campbell-Bannerman. It is possible for liberal government to exist under the umbrella of traditionalist or well-established political institutions.

The history of Switzerland is very complicated. I would maintain that the Switzerland of 1904 was not an ancient republic. The ancient structure of Switzerland was indeed essentially republican, or non-monarchical, as were many city states in Germany and Italy during the middle ages, however individual cantons had their own sovereignty while remaining within the confederation; as an example Neuchâtel was in personal union with the King of Prussia until 1848. The Swiss Confederation was essentially run along the lines of the French Ancien Régime in which the elite ruled over the peasantry and non elite with little consultation. This system was put under severe pressure after the French revolution and in 1798 the country was eventually overrun by the French revolutionary armies and the unitary Helvetic Republic was established as a French puppet state. Following Austrian and Russian intervention and a civil war, the Swiss Confederation was established under the oversight of Napoleon. For the first time all of the Swiss were considered citizens of Switzerland, rather than of their cantons and the status of previously politically privileged classes and former subject territories controlled by the cities were abolished. Eventually, after another brief civil war, the current federal constitution modelled after that of the United States and inspired by the French Revolution was decided upon in 1848.

(I shall need to read about the micro-state of San Marino!)

I take issue with your statement that the "regal emasculation revolution" was not resisted by the British monarchy. The English Civil war and the wars of the Three Kingdoms were fought between parliament and the King over the issue of Magna Carta and the intrinsic rights of free-born Englishmen. I have read that in the later civil-war between the 13 colonies and Britain that developed into the American War of Independence, a substantial majority of Britons without political representation strongly supported their fellow countrymen overseas in their struggle for freedom against arbitrary impositions.

It is only because of these English revolutions that the Monarchy has survived at all. The first revolution showed us the danger of having a dictator in charge and paved the way to genuine parliamentary democracy in the UK. The second revolution (the American ones) showed the need to grant local representation wherever the flag flew. It is for this reason alone that Canada, Australia and New Zealand have chosen to maintain their monarchy. It is a part of their system and always has been because it is a system that gives all of the advantages of monarchy while avoiding the disadvantages.

From our perspective, the monarchy is a stabilising force that keeps the position of head of state politically neutral and guarantees the loyalty of the armed forces to the civil power. Because of the ultimate control of parliament, the monarchy acts in the interests of all of the Monarch’s subjects rather than a few. Thus for us today Monarchy is a Good Thing.


Patrick said...

From the perspective of other peoples, the monarchs were often not fit for purpose. The Chinese Emperors were deposed because they were useless at ruling the country directly and consequently had foreign invaders take over the country with puny armies, but from well-organised countries. In contrast, the Japanese looked around them and adapted the country to the modern era within the framework of existing institutions.

The danger of having an active role for the Monarch is clear. It politicises the position.

The role of the Bourbon absolute monarchs in causing the relative stagnation of France just before the revolution cannot be ignored. Britain and the United States at the time were liberal lands of opportunity, (well, relatively!) while in France there was a massive economic crisis where les Misérables starved to death and there was little outlet for the political frustrations of the non-noble educated and possessing classes.

The evidence from history is that revolution is a terrifying thing and can disturb a nation for generations, as is in evidence in France and Russia today, without making things any better in the short term. However, the ability of loose cannons like Kaiser Wilhelm to destroy the entire order of the world on a whim is surely an excellent reason to impose limits on the monarch’s powers of decision.

Lord Best said...

Did the Entente Cordiale increase or decrease the price of claret in England, I wonder.

Kipling said...

Let me thank both Patrick and J.K. for their fine comments. I think I'll have to side with Patrick on this one. A fine balance is required for a successful monarchy. The Italian monarchy did great service to their country in helping along unification, with the help of Cavour and Garibaldi. They then forfeited the trust of their people by failing to stop Mussolini, or at least curb him.

J.K. is a more "robust" monarchist that either myself or Patrick, he wants a more active monarchy to check the abuses of the conniving politicians. It's a good argument, certainly Montesquieu would have agreed. A politicized monarchy, however, is liable to be a monarchy whose days are numbered.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

Dear Sir:

Thank you again for a lengthy and informed reply.

I would maintain that the Switzerland of 1904 was not an ancient republic.

It was an ancient republic in the sense that it had been a republic from ancient times, but you are right in that the French Revolution influenced also Switzerland, as it did monarchies.

I take issue with your statement that the "regal emasculation revolution" was not resisted by the British monarchy.

Firstly, I did not say this. I said that it did not offer much resistance. Secondly, I was thinking of in more recent times, i.e., since the "Glorious Revolution." Of course, I should have been clear about that in the first place.

As Bertrand de Jouvenel noted, there is a difference in offering resistance to power, such as the Magna Carta process was, and taking over power all together, which more or less has been the process since 1689.

The danger of having an active role for the Monarch is clear. It politicises the position.

And the danger of an all but absolute democracy should be clear for all who have observed the past century.

Visiting the works of, e.g., political philosophers Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Bertrand de Jouvenel, and Hans Hermann-Hoppe may be helpful in this respect.

However, the ability of loose cannons like Kaiser Wilhelm to destroy the entire order of the world on a whim is surely an excellent reason to impose limits on the monarch’s powers of decision.

Or his complete emasculation or deposal?

I don't necessarily think limits on the monarch's power is a bad thing. What I oppose is complete emasculation.

As for the German Emperor, he was hardly the one that pushed most for war. Indeed it can be argued that he did not do enough to prevent or stop the war, as can be said of the ageing Franz Josef. Emperor Wilhelm's role as destructor is overrated, largely due to propaganda that has survived till this day.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

They then forfeited the trust of their people by failing to stop Mussolini, or at least curb him.

Well, sir, the King did eventually arrest him. However, I do agree that this was too little too late.

This is an example of a monarchy that was supposed to play a relatively little role. Yet, the argument against the King of Italy is that he did not do enough. I think this is an example that fits well with the saying "damned if you do, damned if you don't".

A politicized monarchy, however, is liable to be a monarchy whose days are numbered.

I see challenge of the balance between protecting the people against politicos and minorities against the majority on one side and being seen as a representative of a political party on the other side.

However, the monarchs have quite active roles in Liechtenstein and Monaco, and it seems to work fine.

J.K. Baltzersen said...

I shall have som wine, "Lord Best!" :-)

Anonymous said...

Punk pioneer Malcolm McLaren died last week. McLaren managed both the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols. While neither band lasted too long in its initial incarnation, both were quite influential. Under McLaren’s leadership, the Sex Pistols courted controversy and cemented their place in history. Their 1977 single, “God Save the Queen,” was almost never released. Workers at the pressing plant stopped work because they were offended by the record cover (which, interestingly enough, would later be recognized as one of the best covers of all time) and the song was banned by the BBC. Perhaps due to the contorversy, the song still hit number 2 on the UK charts. Many thought the lyrics scandalous at the time — but time’s change. Here’s a taste:

God save the queen
The fascist regime
It made you a moron
Potential H bomb
God save the queen
She ain’t no human being
There is no future
In England’s dreaming
Don’t be told what you want
Don’t be told what you need
There’s no future
No future
No future for you


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HMS Ontario sunk in 1780, found intact! at bottom of Lake Ontario
Hold the Lime, Bartender: Only lemon properly complements a gin and tonic
Elizabethans Down Under: Are most Australian monarchists merely "Elizabethans"?
Edwardian Gentleman: What To Do When You Find a Hohenzollern in Your Study
Hooray for Kid's Day!! Melbourne newspaper won't come of Age
Unhappy Kingdom: Why Liberal Democracy is Failing Us
Knightless Realm: The world yawns as John Howard is made an AC
Scots Tory: Bring Back the Stiff Upper Lip, says Gerald Warner
HMY Britannia: Let's lay the keel for a new royal yacht
For Queen, Country and Low Pay: PM pledges to do better
Maple Leaf republic? Roger Kimball's sleight of hand (since corrected!)
Queen's Birthday: New Zealand unveils new Vice-Regal Standard
Prince Charming: Quebec author calls Canadian G-G a "negro queen"
The Senior Service: Sub-Lieutenant Wales to take on Pirates of the Caribbean
Crown of Disenchantment: What does it require to withhold royal assent?
Colonial Mentality: Key republican thinks Victoria Cross is a colonial relic
The Red Baron: Billy Bishop, not Mannock, was the British Empire's top ace
Which Scots conservatism: Unionist or Nationalist?
Loyal Subject: After all she has done, we owe the Queen our oath
Victoria Day – Fête de la Reine: Official B'day of the Queen of Canada
Renaming the Victoria Day Weekend: Let's get rid of Heritage Day Bob
Pro Valore: Canada mints its own Victoria Cross in time for Victoria Day
State Visit to Turkey: Mustafa Akyol says God Save the Queen, Indeed
Norn Iron Unites: What issue is uniting all parties of Northern Ireland?
Extreme Loyalist: Michael Stone attempted to slit the throats of Adams and McGuinness because he just "can't handle" republicans being in government.
Canada's Vice-Regal dubbed an elegant mix between Lady Di and Nelson Mandela
Queen of Australia: Support for Australian republic hits new low
A Heroes Welcome: The Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo, 8-10 May 2008
Fat, Vile and Impudent: Alan Fotheringham is back on the bottle
The Devine Right of Bling: Our Royals have become hereditary celebrities
Battle of the Atlantic: Canadians remember the longest battle of WW2
Old Etonian Toff: Boris Johnson installed as Tory Mayor of London
Britain needs a Patron Saint: Cry God for Harry, Britain and St. Aiden?
Anglos in Mont-Royal: Rooting for the Montreal Canadiens
Daniel Hannan: Borders of the Anglosphere and the British Empire was a mistake
Australia 2020: One Big Fat Republican Con Job
Bye bye Tommy: O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy go away"
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Carpetbaggers Down Under: Kevin 'Mugabe' Rudd wins 98.5% support for republic
Kipling: The Jeremiah of Empire and the Poet Laureate of Civilisation
Duke of Edinburgh: Behind the gaffes is a man of real sincerity
Lord Rutherford: The Father of the Atom lives on in great great grandson
Queen of Australia: Royalty Protects us from Tyranny, David Barnett
Long Live the Broadsheet! Norumbega, more traditionalist than the Pope.
A Tale of Two Countries: Soldiers of Britain and Canada serve the same Queen but...
Loyal Subject: Polishing the Royal Crown, Matt Bondy & Brendon Bedford
Devoted to the End: Obituary of Sir Phillip Bridges
The Monarchist does not recognize the Republic of Kosova
Loyal Subject: MPs Ruse Defeated; God Save the Queen!
St. Paddy's Day: Edmund Burke, the greatest Irishman who ever lived
Not Amused: The Bunkum of Timothy Garton Ash
Hero Harry: Rave Reviews across the Commonwealth
Patriot Prince: Prince Harry fought for us all, Charles Moore
William F. Buckley, RIP: He had a Tory gratitude for the pleasures of life
Their Lordships' Duty: The House of Lords can influence the Lisbon Treaty debate
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Our Greatest Monarch: Paul Johnson says Henry V was our greatest monarch
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Duke of York: The Royals are not "stuffed dummies". They should have their say
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty
Honouring Sir Edmund Hillary
The Queen versus an E.U. President
Going Solo: Prince William earns his Wings
James C. Bennett: The Third Anglosphere Century
Knights of Oz: Revive Sirs or I'll have your guts for garters
Princess Diana Inquest: A Dirty Raincoat Show for the World
Malcom Turnbull: 'Queen's death will spark republican vote'
Future Peer: The life and times of Lady Victoria Beckham
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Peter Hitchens: Get rid of the monarchy and you will get rid of a guardian of liberty


New York Times: Ever Backwards into the Royal Future
Peter Hitchens: People love the Queen...and the BBC hates us for it
Christopher Hitchens: An Anglosphere Future
Andrew Cusack: Republicanism is a traitor's game
Courageous Patrician: Rt Hon Ian Douglas Smith (1919-2007)
The Last Rhodesian: What began with Rhodes and ended with Ian?
Gentleman Journalist: The Lord Baron W.F. Deedes, 1913-2007
Not Amused: Blair's sinister campaign to undermine the Queen
Loyal Subject: Queen Elizabeth: A stranger in her own country
Reverence Deference: Bowing and Scraping Back in Tradition
Rex Murphy: Kennedy, Churchill, Lincoln - The rousing bon mot is no more
Gerald Warner: Don't shed a tear for Diana cult in its death throes
The End of Grandeur: Rich, chincy Canada puts Strathmore on the blocks
Confessions of a Republican Leftie: "The Queen charmed the pants off me"
The King's Own Calgary Regiment: Cpl. Nathan Hornburg is laid to rest
The Royal Gurkha Rifles: Prince William grieves the death of Major Roberts
Queensland Mounted Rifles: Trooper David Pearce, 41, killed in Afghanistan
The Order of Canada: 100 investitures later, Canada's highest honour turns 40
Prince Edward on Prince Edward Island: Troop's link to monarchy important
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN: Unveils the UK Armed Forces Memorial
Great Britain: "A rotten borough with a banana monarchy" - by Europhile
Peers of the Realm: The decline and fall of the House of Lords - Charles A. Coulombe
Remembering 'Smithy': An obituary tour de force by Andrew Cusack here, here and here.
NOT AMUSED: Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Quebec not invited to Quebec's tercentenary