The July revolution placed him in a difficult position; he knew nothing of the intrigues which placed Louis Philippe on the throne; but, the revolution once accomplished, he was ready to uphold the fait accompli with characteristic loyalty, and on the 9th of August took office in the new government as minister of public worship and education. As he had foreseen, the ministry was short-lived, and on the 2nd of November he was once more out of office. During the critical time that followed he consistently supported the principles which triumphed with the fall of Laffitte and the accession to power of Casimir Périer in March 1832. After the death of the latter and the insurrection of June 1832, de Broglie took office once more as minister for foreign affairs (October 11th). His tenure of the foreign office was coincident with a very critical period in international relations. But for the sympathy of Great Britain under Palmerston, the July monarchy would have been completely isolated in Europe; and this sympathy the aggressive policy of France in Belgium and on the Mediterranean coast of Africa had been in danger of alienating.
The Belgian crisis had been settled, so far as the two powers were concerned, before de Broglie took office; but the concerted military and naval action for the coercion of the Dutch, which led to the French occupation of Antwerp, was carried out under his auspices. The good understanding of which this was the symbol characterized also the relations of de Broglie and Palmerston during the crisis of the first war of Mehemet Ali (q.v.) with the Porte, and in the affairs of the Spanish peninsula their common sympathy with constitutional liberty led to an agreement for common action, which took shape in the treaty of alliance between Great Britain, France, Spain and Portugal, signed at London on the 22nd of April 1834. De Broglie had retired from office in the March preceding, and did not return to power till March of the following year, when he became head of the cabinet. In 1836, the government having been defeated on a proposal to reduce the five per cents, he once more resigned, and never returned to official life. He had remained in power long enough to prove what honesty of purpose, experience of affairs, and common sense can accomplish when allied with authority.
The debt that France and Europe owed him may be measured by comparing the results of his policy with that of his successors under not dissimilar circumstances. He had found France isolated and Europe full of the rumours of war; he left her strong in the English alliance and the respect of Liberal Europe, and Europe freed from the restless apprehensions which were to be stirred into life again by the attitude of Thiers in the Eastern Question and of Guizot in the affair of the "Spanish marriages." From 1836 to 1848 de Broglie held almost completely aloof from politics, to which his scholarly temperament little inclined him, a disinclination strengthened by the death of his wife on the 22nd of September 1838. His friendship for Guizot, however, induced him to accept a temporary mission in 1845, and in 1847 to go as French ambassador to London. The revolution of 1848 was a great blow to him, for he realized that it meant the final ruin of the Liberal monarchy - in his view the political system best suited to France. He took his seat, however, in the republican National Assembly and in the Convention of 1848, and, as a member of the section known as the "Burgraves," did his best to stem the tide of socialism and to avert the reaction in favour of autocracy which he foresaw.
He shared with his colleagues the indignity of the coup d'état of the 2nd of December 1851, and remained for the remainder of his life one of the bitterest enemies of the imperial regime, though he was heard to remark, with that caustic wit for which he was famous, that the empire was "the government which the poorer classes in France desired and the rich deserved." The last twenty years of his life were devoted chiefly to philosophical and literary pursuits. Having been brought up by his step-father in the sceptical opinions of the time, he gradually arrived at a sincere belief in the Christian religion. "I shall die," said he, "a penitent Christian and an impenitent Liberal." His literary works, though few of them have been published, were rewarded in 1856 by a seat in the French Academy, and he was also a member of another branch of the French Institute, the Academy of Moral and Political Science. In the labours of those learned bodies he took an active and assiduous part. He died on the 25th of January 1870.
Besides his Souvenirs, in 4 vols. (Paris, 1885-1888), the duc de Broglie left numerous works, of which only some have been published. Of these may be mentioned écrits et discours (3 vols., Paris, 1863); Le Libre échange et l'impôt (Paris, 1879); Vues sur le gouvernement de la France (Paris, 1861). This last was confiscated before publication by the imperial government. See Guizot, Le Duc de Broglie (Paris, 1870), and Mémoires (Paris, 1858-1867); and the histories of Thureau-Dangin and Duvergier de Hauranne.
Jacques Victor Albert, Duc de Broglie (1821-1901), his eldest son, was born at Paris on the 13th of June 1821. After a brief diplomatic career at Madrid and Rome, the revolution of 1848 caused him to withdraw from public life and devote himself to literature. He had already published a translation of the religious system of Leibnitz (1846). He now at once made his mark by his contributions to the Revue des deux Mondes and the Orleanist and clerical organ Le Correspondant, which were afterwards collected under the titles of études morales et littéraires (1853) and Questions de religion et d'histoire (1860). These were supplemented in 1869 by a volume of Nouvelles études de littérature et de morale. His L'église et l'empire romain au IVe siècle (1856-1866) brought him the succession to Lacordaire's seat in the Academy in 1862. In 1870 he succeeded his father in the dukedom, having previously been known as the prince de Broglie. In the following year he was elected to the National Assembly for the department of the Eure, and a few days later (on the 19th of February) was appointed ambassador in London; but in March 1872, in consequence of criticisms upon his negotiations concerning the commercial treaties between England and France, he resigned his post and took his seat in the National Assembly, where he became the leading spirit of the monarchical campaign against Thiers. On the replacement of the latter by Marshal MacMahon, the duc de Broglie became president of the council and minister for foreign affairs (May 1873), but in the reconstruction of the ministry on the 26th of November, after the passing of the septennate, transferred himself to the ministry of the interior.
His tenure of office was marked by an extreme conservatism, which roused the bitter hatred of the Republicans, while he alienated the Legitimist party by his friendly relations with the Bonapartists, and the Bonapartists by an attempt to effect a compromise between the rival claimants to the monarchy. The result was the fall of the cabinet on the 16th of May 1874. Three years later (on the 16th of May 1877) he was entrusted with the formation of a new cabinet, with the object of appealing to the country and securing a new chamber more favourable to the reactionaries than its predecessor had been. The result, however, was a decisive Republican majority. The duc de Broglie was defeated in his own district, and resigned office on the 20th of November. Not being re-elected in 1885, he abandoned politics and reverted to his historical work, publishing a series of historical studies and biographies written in a most pleasing style, and especially valuable for their extensive documentation. He died in Paris on the 19th of January 1901.
Besides editing the Souvenirs of his father (1886, etc.), the Mémoires of Talleyrand (1891, etc.), and the Letters of the Duchess Albertine de Broglie (1896), he published Le Secret du roi, Correspondance secrète de Louis XV avec ses agents diplomatiques, 1752-1774 (1878); Frédéric II et Marie Thérèse (1883); Frédéric II et Louis XV (1885); Marie Thérèse Impératrice (1888); Le Père Lacordaire (1889); Maurice de Saxe et le marquis d'Argenson (1891); La Paix d'Aix-la-Chapelle (1892); L'Alliance autrichienne (1895); La Mission de M. de Gontaut-Biron à Berlin (1896); Voltaire avant et pendant la Guerre de Sept Ans (1898); Saint Ambroise, translated by Margaret Maitland in the series of "The Saints" (1899).