Imatges de pàgina

vices, created him a Duke, bestowed M. De Cardonnel argued, that this on him other marks of favour, and, a measure could not admit of a moment's few days after, appointed him ambas- hesitation.“What!”said he, “when the sador to the British court. On the purest blood which has flowed under 21st, the Duke de Richelieu was ap- the parricide knife, warns us in a terpointed his successor as President of rible manner of the fatal designs of the the Council, and Count Simeon as Mie wicked; when the views of the facnister of the Interior.

tious are no longer concealed; when The conflict of parties in the Cham. doctrines subversive of legitimate mobers was now to open. On the 15th narchy and social order are publicly February, M. Pasquier proposed in the preached and placarded; when guilt Chamber of Peers the law upon indi- raises an impious and insulting head, vidual liberty, a measure nearly similar and points out, as it were, with the to that in England suspending the finger its victims; is it possible that Habeas Corpus Act.

Ministers were we can refuse to government a measure to have the power of arresting, with- of prudence and precaution, a hundred out bringing to trial, all persons re- times less severe than those by which ported as guilty of plotting against the our neighbours have judged it neces. government. These orders were to be sary to secure their establishments in delivered only in council, and signed circumstances less critical.” by three of the ministers. In support- General Foy, on the other hand, ing his project, the minister asked, considered the proposed measure as an was not this the crime of a fanatic, open violation of the charter. Ample blinded and led astray by the perverse security was afforded by a penal and opinions which were published every criminal code, given by a mastergloomi. day with impunity ? could they be so ly suspicious, and who, in his active happy as to think that there was on- life, had more than once passed close ly one fanatic? were they not duly to the poniard. It was in vain to say, warned, by this unforeseen blow, to that by intrusting the power to miniswatch over the preservation of this ters in person, they would be preserancient and sacred throne, the young. ved from the intrigues of inferior est branch of which had been cut down agents. Government must know upon by a sacrilegious hand ?

what head to direct its blows. “ See in The law was referred to a commit. an instant arrive from all quarters

the tee; and, notwithstanding its urgent band of informers ; see official denunnature, eighteen days were spent in ciations, and officious reports, showerpreparing the report upon it; a delay ed down in torrents. Are you then which indicated a considerable differ. ignorant, gentlemen, that the recollecence of opinion among the members. tions of 1815 live still in every heart, On the 5th March, the report was pre- and that enmities are a thousand times sented by M. Riviere, but with a state. more active now than then? Vainly ment that it was not unanimous. It re. would you seek in the departments a commended the law as a measure of pre- leading 'man, a municipal functionary, caution, though there appeared no rea- a judge, who has not his decided proson to think that the crime in question fession of political faith. Every town, had been the result of any plot. It every village, has its right side and its proposed, however, to limit the period left side. That middle party, on the of detention for each individual to three amplitude of which so many hopes months, and the duration of the law were founded, becomesevery day weak. itself to the end of next session. er; and these laws will infallibly com

pel all that remains of it to seek in tion, and from which the innocent had party coalitions that security which nothing to fear. There had been but the torn charter can no longer offer." too evident symptoms that the sentiThe orator then represented the ille- ments of Louvel were shared by many, gal influence which might thus be ex- both in Paris and in the provinces. ercised over all acting in public capa. The most criminal imprecations, the cities, political writers, electors, judges, most atrocious wishes, had been ex. jurors, even the deputies themselves. pressed against persons the most auWhat would have been felt by the gust. These imprecations, these exegenerous Prince, who, in dying, for- crable wishes, had been everywhere gave his assassin, if he had known the presented under the same form, as if miseries which his fate would bring they came from a common centre. The upon the whole nation? How would same identity had been found in the posterity reproach them, if, at the fu- alarming reports spread at the same neral of a Bourbon, the liberty of the moment over every part of France, nation was made to serve as a heca- and which announced, sometimes insur. tomb ?

rection in this or that department, Martin de Gray eagerly supported the sometimes the landing of Napoleon in same side, insisting that the present was Spain or America. Mysterious proan insulated crime, committed by an un- phecies, calculated to make a powercultivated being from among the low- ful impression on the vulgar, had an. est classes of society, leading

a gloomy nounced the extinction of the royal and solitary life, and who had medita. family at the end of 1820. To all this ted the crime for four years ; that is, was added the exhibition of the signs before the nation had obtained those and emblems of the last government, liberties to which this atrocity was im- the repetition of the songs which reputed. The whole nation was seen in called the memory of it. These songs, grief and tears ; and was it to be con- half veiled, derived a new attraction sidered guilty of the crime which it from their mystery, and had become a deplored? Were we a nation of assas- real mode of action against the governsins ? A mad fanatic, possessed by the ment. delirium of religious frenzy, slew the M. Simeon was answered by Benjagreat and good Henry IV. Were we min Constant, in an elaborate speech. then to tear the gospel, to break the A year ago, he said, a calm and proaltars, to deny the ineffable name of gressive amelioration was every where the divinity? Another madman, im- observed. Every heart was filled with pelled by a frenzy of a different spe- hope, and penetrated with attachment cies, strikes one of his descendants; to the national institutions. On a sudmust we then tear the charter in pie- den ministers had declared war against ces, trample the rights of the nation all the guarantees of our liberty. I'hen, under foot, and blaspheme liberty, the indeed, France was alarmed, and a first of blessings ?

grievous fermentation was remarked Count Simeon, in defending the law, from one extremity of the kingdom to could not but remark the exaggerated the other. But this fermentation had statements made as to the effects of a manifested itself only by legitimate temporary measure, which had been expressions, and had nothing in comprovided by the charter, which had mon with the execrable assassination something similar to it both in the of an amiable prince, which could be Roman and English governments, of no benefit to any of the criminal wbich was guarded by every precau- systems to which it was sought to impute it. The law now presented form throw her back into her former career ed part of a system meditated, organic of miseries and endless disasters. The zed, announced, tending to nothing persons who circulated such absurd less than to overturn the whole exist. calumnies, were those who wished for ing government, and to establish an revolution. absolute monarchy. Thus the precious After four days debate, the law in blood, the blood for ever to be regret. general was carried by a great majorited, which had now been shed, would ty; but the same period was afterwards serve only as a pretext to impose chains consumed in warm debates on the pare on an innocent irreproachable nation, ticular clauses. One of the most conwhich shrunk with' horror from this tested was that proposed by Lacroix crime. The projected law would be Framville, that the benefit of counsel the ruin, not only of the liberty, but should be allowed to the person apof the justice, the morality, the liberty, prehended on suspicion. This was oband the prosperity of France. The jected to, as affording to the prisoner abyss of counter-revolution was about a mode of communicating with his as- ' to be opened, the barriers raised against sociates. It was rejected by a majoit by the present ministry were shaking, rity only of nineteen. The clause was were giving way, and would quickly carried against ministers, by which the fall. The Convention, the Directory, period of detention for any individual Buonaparte, had governed by laws of was limited to three months; a salu. restraint ; where was the Convention ? tary regulation, which seems wanting where was the Directory? where was in the English Habeas Corpus SusBuonaparte ?

pension. Another clause, proposed by M. Pasquier undertook to reply to M. Guittard, was, after a discussion the different orators who had spoken of unexampled obstinacy, carried by against the law. He justified, by re- a majority of nineteen. It bore, that peated examples, the occasional exer. no arrest could take place during the tion of an arbitrary power in a free night. The law was to expire of itgovernment. This arbitrary power, self, if not renewed, in the following which could only be justified by neces- session. sity, was much less injurious when it In the Chamber of Peers, a debate was clearly expressed and sanctioned, of three days took place, in which all than when it was disguised under the the reasonings employed in the Chamappearance of liberty. The idea of a ber of Deputies were urged afresh. counter-revolution, or of the return of the law was opposed by Marshal the ancient regime, he treated as utter- Jourdan, and, what excited greater ly ridiculous. The stream of time surprise, by M. Chateaubriard, who does not reascend to its source ; his- espoused on this occasion the cause of tory affords no example of such a coun- liberty. The most remarkable speech ter-revolution. Revolutions, indeed, on the other side was that of the Duke succeed to revolutions ; but the fol- de Fitz-James, which drew great lowing one is always obliged to accept tention from his situation under the the inheritance of destruction which Duke de Berri, and from his details the preceding has left. Ruins upon relative to the state of the capital. He ruins, this is the only produce of revo- painted these ferocious songs, repeatlutions. France had been so happy as ed with such constant perseverance, to terminate hers in an unhoped for these songs which began the pery manner; and it would not be the go- night of the assassination, and which vernment of her Kings which would they had the heroism to go




under the very windows of the Du- irremovable magistrates. This was chess of Berri. These placards, these stated by the minister as a measure anonymous letters, these threats, not which necessity commanded, and which only to us, who have been so long ac- was called for alike by the safety of the customed, that we no longer pay at- throne, and the maintenance of our tention to them, but against him for most sacred institutions. If the crime whom they know that we are ready to itself, and the blood of the illustrious sacrifice our life a thousand times. victim, did not speak so loud, the conWhat execrable invectives, addressed fessions, or rather the apologies of its to a father, whose august grief would infamous author, would teach us what have softened real tigers, but has ap- are the detestable fruits of the fatal parently only irritated the thirst of maxims, the doctrines subversive of blood which devours our revolution social order, the regicide principles, ary tigers. What shall we say to the which are preached with such audacity existence of these clubs, gloomy caves, since the journals have been freed from in which we are counted on our benches, every restraint. and every poniard has the place assign. Notwithstanding the aristocratical ed in which it is to strike. See also character of the assembly to whom this the coincidence of all that passes around project was addressed, it did not meet us with what passes within ; the Sands with a very favourable reception. Inand the Thistlewoods repeating in their dependent of the general unpopularity respective countries the lessons which of the measure, even the high royalthey have learned in our school ; see ists were afraid of its being executed homicide and regicide converted into with equal rigour against them as their precepts, and recommended as a work antagonists. The resignation of Decaof glory and' immortality ; see Spain zes deprived it of the support of its aubecome the prey of a military faction, thor. The consequence was, that the and of vile traitors, dishonouring the report of the committee presented on name of soldiers, kissing the band of the 230 February was decidedly unfathe prince whom they are preparing vourable to the measure. It observed, to betray ;-are all these accumulated that the crime of Louvel, meditated proofs not sufficient to reveal the exist- during four years, could not be the reence of a plot, which advances rapidly sult of the liberty of the journals granttowards its catastrophe ?

ed only nine or ten months ago. It adAfter a good deal of further discus. mitted, indeed, that the liberty of the sion on particular articles, the law pass. journals had been abused, and that ed finally in the Upper House, by a there was room for stricter and more majority of 121 to 86.

precise laws against its offences; but The next law proposed by ministers with regard to the censorship, a meawas one equally critical and impor. sure destructive of the liberty of the tant; the re-establishment of the cen. press, the precautions taken to amelisorship on the journals. It was intro-orate it appeared null or insufficient. duced first by M. Decazes into the The censorial commission including Upper Chamber. According to the three magistrates chosen by the goproject submitted by this member, no vernment, the gaining over of one journals, no periodical, or semi-perio- member from each Chamber, would be dical writings, could appear without sufficient to give it a majority. the authority of the King, and they Notwithstanding this unfavourable were to be subjected to a previous cen. judgment, ministers eagerly supported sorship, carried on by a commission of the project. M. Pasquier made a disthree peers, three deputies, and three tinction between journals, pamphlets,

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and books. It was by books, not Tonnerre, Lally Tollendal, Germain, pamphlets, that the world had been and Deseze. Clermont Tonnerre he. enlightened. “Let us view the state sitated not to assert that the principle into which society has been thrown by of the liberty of the press was indisthe license of the journals ; everywhere solubly connected with that of the sothe passions have been worked up to vereignty of the people ; it had never the highest pitch, enmities have be- produced any but fatal results to come fiercer, resentments have been France. On the other hand, the Duke embittered, and the horrible catastro- de Broglie, Count Lanjuinais, the Duke phe, under which we are destined long de Praslin, and Count Daru, opposed to groan, is the direct consequence.

the measure. The first considered every Two hundred years ago, it was religi. restraint prior to publication as useless, ous fanaticism by which the poniard and the evil as having arisen less from was sharpened. Now, all minds are un- the inadequacy of the law, than the der the the dominion of another fana. negligence of its execution ; Praslin ticism-that of political opinions. regarded it as unconstitutional in matWhat are the organs of this fanati- ter and form, contrary to the royal cism? By what is it cultivated, sup- prerogative, and to the right of citiported, exalted ?

Who can deny, zens ; and finally such, that no modi. that it is by journals and periodi- fication could justify its being adopted cal writings? Whatever exception by the Chamber. we may make of men honourable by In the course of the discussion se. their character, and remarkable by veral amendments were made, accordtheir talents, who have not disdained ing to which the journals and periodito descend into this arena, it is im- cal writings actually existing were to possible not to stigmatize another race continue to appear, so long as they of writers, who, borrowing by turns conformed to the regulations of the every mask, employ the frightful art law; the commission of censorship was of courting and wielding to their be- rejected, and the power was simply nefit the most shameful, abject, and vested in individuals named by the infamous sentiments which can enter King ; lastly, the insertion of the law the heart of man. Such is the govern- was limited to the end of the session ment of the journals, which have no 1820. Under these modifications, it power to improve, and can only de. was carried on the 18th February, by stroy; they overthrew the Constitution the very slender majority of two, (106 of 1791, which gave liberty; they to 104.) made tremble that horrible Convention, In the Chamber of Deputies, the which, however, made the world trem. law was introduced by Count Simeon, ble.” There was no government strong with the strongest assurances of the enough to withstand the license of the moderation with which it would be ex. journals, such as it now existed in ercised. The censors, whatever their France. It was only by degrees that own opinion might be, were to allow this liberty had been established in every thing to be said which was useEngland, and it might be so one day ful, according to the legitimate end of in France ; but at present it was im- political writing ; they were to tolepossible that the government, without rate all opinions, unless they were evi. the aid of the censorship, could apply dently contrary to the principles of an efficacious remedy to the abuses of morality and religion, of the charter,

and of monarchy; they were to leave The minister was supported by Dou- all the acts of administration and of deauville, Saint Roman, Clermont public functionaries open to the most

the press.

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