1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Doctrinaires

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DOCTRINAIRES, the name given to the leaders of the moderate and constitutional Royalists in France after the second restoration of Louis XVIII. in 1815. The name, as has often been the case with party designations, was at first given in derision, and by an enemy. In 1816 the Nain jaune réfugié, a French paper published at Brussels by Bonapartist and Liberal exiles, began to speak of M. Royer-Collard as the “doctrinaire” and also as le père Royer-Collard de la doctrine chrétienne. The pères de la doctrine chrétienne, popularly known as the “doctrinaires,” were a French religious order founded in 1592 by César de Bus. The choice of a nickname for M. Royer-Collard does credit to the journalistic insight of the contributors to the Nain jaune réfugié, for he was emphatically a man who made it his business to preach a doctrine and an orthodoxy. The popularity of the name and its rapid extension to M. Royer-Collard’s colleagues is the sufficient proof that it was well chosen and had more than a personal application. These colleagues came, it is true, from various quarters. The duc de Richelieu and M. de Serre had been Royalist émigrés during the revolutionary and imperial epoch. MM. Royer-Collard himself, Lainé, and Maine de Biran had sat in the revolutionary Assemblies. MM. Pasquier, Beugnot, de Barante, Cuvier, Mounier, Guizot and Decazes had been imperial officials. But they were closely united by political principle, and also by a certain similarity of method. Some of them, notably Guizot and Maine de Biran, were theorists and commentators on the principles of government. M. de Barante was an eminent man of letters. All were noted for the doctrinal coherence of their principles and the dialectical rigidity of their arguments. The object of the party as defined by M. (afterwards the duc) Decazes was to “nationalize the monarchy and to royalize France.” The means by which they hoped to attain this end were a loyal application of the charter granted by Louis XVIII., and the steady co-operation of the king with the moderate Royalists to defeat the extreme party known as the Ultras, who aimed at the complete undoing of the political and social work of the Revolution. The Doctrinaires were ready to allow the king a large discretion in the choice of his ministers and the direction of national policy. They refused to allow that ministers should be removed in obedience to a hostile vote in the chamber. Their ideal in fact was a combination of a king who frankly accepted the results of the Revolution, and who governed in a liberal spirit, with the advice of a chamber elected by a very limited constituency, in which men of property and education formed, if not the whole, at least the very great majority of the voters. Their views were set forth by Guizot in 1816 in his treatise Du gouvernement représentatif et de l’état actuel de la France. The chief organs of the party in the press were the Indépendent, renamed the Constitutionnel in 1817, and the Journal des débats. The supporters of the Doctrinaires in the country were chiefly ex-officials of the empire,—who believed in the necessity for monarchical government but had a lively memory of Napoleon’s tyranny and a no less lively hatred of the ancien régime—merchants, manufacturers and members of the liberal professions, particularly the lawyers. The history of the Doctrinaires as a separate political party began in 1816 and ended in 1830. In 1816 they obtained the co-operation of Louis XVIII., who had been frightened by the violence of the Ultras in the Chambre introuvable of 1815. In 1830 they were destroyed by Charles X. when he took the Ultra prince de Polignac as his minister and entered on the conflict with Liberalism in France which ended in his overthrow. During the revolution of 1830 the Doctrinaires became absorbed in the Orleanists, from whom they had never been separated on any ground of principle (see France: History).

The word “doctrinaire” has become naturalized in English terminology, as applied, in a slightly contemptuous sense, to a theorist, as distinguished from a practical man of affairs.

See Duvergier de Hauranne, Histoire du gouvernement parlementaire en France (Paris, 1857–1871), vol. iii.