The Objects

5th Apr 1815

Fauche-Borel Frontispiece resized.jpeg
precis historique resized.jpeg
Source: Special Collections Department, Newcastle University Library, with permission. [Grey Tracts vol.132].

The Royalist Spy

Contributed by: Thomas Stammers

In this pamphlet, penned in September 1815, counter-revolutionary conspirator Louis Fauche-Borel (1762-1829) railed against those opportunists and hypocrites who had nearly cost Louis XVIII his throne. He narrated the complacency and factionalism he had witnessed during the Hundred Days.

Following the arrival of émigrés in Neuchâtel, his home city, during the Revolution, Fauche-Borel had undertaken two decades of plotting to persuade leading generals and statesmen – including Moreau, Pichegru and Barras – to defect to the Bourbon king(s). These far-flung schemes produced few results, but entailed considerable sacrifices, including three years in the Temple prison and the entrapment and execution of his nephew. Yet even his irreproachable loyalty was questioned in 1815.

In March Fauche-Borel rushed to obtain diplomatic assurances from the Allies in Vienna that Louis XVIII could count on their support. It was feared Wellington and Hardenberg preferred a regency for the King of Rome (Napoleon Bonaparte’s son) to foisting the Bourbons back on an unwilling France. But when he arrived in Ghent in April, armed with the news, the comte de Blacas had Fauche-Borel expelled to Brussels and then thrown into prison as a potential spy.

Although later exonerated, the incident reveals the deep suspicions among monarchists caused by years of exile, espionage and pervasive treachery.

This copy of the pamphlet was owned by (and features underlining by) the second Earl Grey (1764-1845), a Whig politician and later Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland.