Imatges de pàgina
[ocr errors]

« It wept

bed to oppose it, while the right side most contrary to the charter. When mustered only thirty-four, who enrol- they had nearly brought their labours led themselves to defend it.

to a close, the scene suddenly changed. General Foy took the lead in at- The directing minister, constrained to tacking the project

. He began with yield to the secret agents of an occult panegyrising the law of 5th February, power, disappeared, and with him the 1817, according to which the elections principles of moderation, which had were at present conducted. “ It was, governed his conduct. The committee he said, "a law of truth, the mirror were called upon to examine a new law, of opinion, an opinion which is not to supported by all the influence and elobe feared. It wishes repose and liberty, quence of M. Laine, formerly the zeathe King and the charter. The law lous champion of the law of the 5th began to operate soon after fatal catas- February. All accommodation betrophes ; and the elections then exclu- came thenceforth impossible. The new ded those whom public report desig- law was entirely in the interests

of the nated as the authors of our last mis, aristocracy, that body, which France fortunes. "If other factions availed had always rejected. Its history was themselves of the impulse given to men's a mere record of the long war of the minds, in order to bring on a misfortune tiers etat and the royalty against, the of a different kind, the remedy is in the nobility. Since the latter body transinstinct of self-preservation, which re. ferred a part of its property to save sides in an elective body; salutary doc. its privileges, it lived entirely detached trines would soon balance and over from the mass of citizens. come those which were pernicious.- when others rejoiced ; its joys began You have here the hundred richest pro- with our griefs. Is this the time to prietors of France. Can you impute grant the monopoly of the chief privi. to this select portion of the nation the leges granted by the charter to those project of a suicide."

who have constantly been distinguishThe orator now proceeded to state ed for their hatred of this charter and what he conceived to be the real mo." of the new institutions; You would ren. tive of this new project. The ministryder them more absolute, more despotic, judged, that if the law of the 5th Fe- than at a former period, when their bruary continued to regulate the elec, power was balanced by that of the cler. tions, the majority in the Chamber gy, the parliament, and the free cities. would escape out of their hands; they I'he Crown would lose all benefit from hesitated not to sacrifice the charter, its right of dissolving the Chamber, conand perhaps the country, to the pre- demned to find them always exclusive servation of their power. General Foy, masters of the colleges in which the dehowever, being appointed one of the puties were named. Would the peerage, committee, concurred with the rest in which we find it difficult to natural. being willing to make some modifica- ize in the climate of equality, content tions in the law, provided these did to grow, pale before this unconstitunot interfere with the two fundament- tional aristocracy?' The orator, thereal principles of direct election and perfore, declared that this plan would fect equality of rights. The commit. form a mere empty show of representtee undertook a long and painful la- ation. The law which proclaimed fourbour, in which they minutely examined fifths of the electors of France unquaevery proposal, not disdainfully reject- lified to exercise their constitutional ing even those which appeared to them rights, was not susceptible of any

[ocr errors]

amendment. “ We must reject alto. speaking, nine thousand three hundred, gether this law of lies. Think, gentle who, having once counted their votes, men, what will happen at the approach. and felt their strength, would remain ing era, when a faction, having obtain. masters of the ground, would dismiss ed the superiority in this Chamber, will ministers, would exclude from the dispose, without distinction, and with- Chambers all who did not follow their out division, of the ministers, of the banners, till the royal power, resting treasure, of the armed force. Do you itself upon the people, as it has done believe that any acquired right will be in France since Louis le Gros, should sacred to those, who have property, or

reduce the turbulence of these great at least copious indemnifications to re- newly-created vassals, and deliver the cover, and a political system to rebuild? country from their oppression. M. Do you believe that the wisest, even Terpaux rejected a system which would among them, will govern the rest ?- tend to establish in the Chamber of Even should they wish to-day only do- Deputies an aristocracy that would mination, they will wish counter-revo- rule the Chamber of Peers, and would lution to-morrow. A moment comes, soon degenerate into an oligarchy. He when it is no longer possible to avoid observed, that at this moment the plunging into the abyss. The aristo- 10,000 eligible persons did not possess cracy may, however, be told, that if a fifth part of the heritable property its plots are violent, the resistance will of France ; and comprehending even also be terrible. The colleges of arron- those whom they represented, they did dissement will be opposed to the de- not pay the sixth part of the land-tax, partmental colleges ; the majority to which yet formed only a third of the ihe minority ; the men of the nation whole contributions. Thus the electors to the men of privilege. Two nations, and eligible did not pay the fortieth part two camps, two banners, will be the of the contributions, and yet all the rest fruit of this law.

of the French consented not to exercise “Let us stop, gentlemen, while it the right of election. Could it be said is yet time. We who wish no charter after this, that the great proprietors but the charter, no king but the King, had not influence sufficient, and did not let us stop, and save the King and the this measure tend to sacrifice entirely charter. Let us guard that electoral the interest of the middle proprietors? law, to which the people are passion- The project, on the other hand, was ately attached. Let us bring our other warmly opposed by M. de Bourdon-, institutions into harmony with it. Woe naye, who held a high rank


the to you, woe to the country, if, rebel- royalist leaders. He regretted that the ling against the decrees of destiny, you law should not have been placed by the attempt to separate political power charter in a complete state, and should from moral power and material force. have been left at all as a subject of disTo rest the throne upon the aristocracy, cussion to the Chambers themselves. is to set on foot a revolution, to irri. “Hence arises a changing and uncertain Late the nation, to betray at once the system ; hence the continual danger of people and the throne.”

seeing the benefit of the restoration and Among the numerous orators who the charter destroyed by separate laws. followed on the same side, Francais de Parties have shewn themselves skilful Nantes reprobated a system which to profit of this defect in our constituwould subject the destinies of twenty- tion. They know how easily an orgaeight millions of men to a majority of nic law can change the nature of goeighteen thousand, or, more strictly vernment, and they wait only for a




Chamber devoted to their cause, to fidelity, insults virtue, and laughs at erect upon the ruins of the constitu- oaths. Every day you see the renewal tional monarchy, either the modest of its murderous attempts. Entrenchchair of a new Washington, or the ed in the law of elections, as in its last bloody throne of a military usurper. hold, resolved to conquer or die, it reTerrified at the view of a regicide sent doubles its efforts, and imposes on us as a deputy into this Chamber, genu. the necessity of redoubling ours. The ine public opinion is alarmed, equally question is no longer about shades of at principles and consequences. It opinion, it is to be, or not to be." " shrinks at the view of a law of election, Baron Pasquier, taking another which, not content with sending a re- tone, defended the law as actually progicide, was capable of procuring him posed. “ We must have the courage,' defenders among our number. It is said he, “ to banish from the reprenecessary to modify this law, because sentation opinions, always changiog the factious are struggling to defend like the passions which are their source; one, which gives the greatest influence we must fix it upon the principle of the to the lowest class of proprietors, the real and permanent interests of society. class least attached to the soil. How, We must have the courage to renounce in fact, could it be so, since the members that principle of uniformity in elections, of it not finding in the rents of their which is any thing rather than a just property the means of subsistence, and representation of social interests, so dinot applying themselves to cultivation, verse in their nature. The certain remust quit the paternal roof, and be- sult of the system of uniformity is to take themselves to branches of indus- oppose no obstacle to any wind that try, which tend to make them mere ci- blows ; and as tempests must always tizens of the world? The present pro. arise, that threaten io shake the poli. ject restores to the great proprietors a tical edifice, it is the wisdom of the leportion of the influence, of which the gislator to seek a remedy which may existing law deprives them. Yet it is weaken this action. Such is the obvicious in many respects, particularly ject of election by two classes, and the by giving to the colleges of arrondisse- benefit which may arise from it. We ment the nomination of all the candi- have been accused of wishing to create dates, and leaving to the great proprie- an aristocracy; what do I say

? an oli. tors the mere right of exclusion. The garchy. Neither is to be feared. Fiflaw will be complete and durable, only teen or sixteen thousand Frenchmen, when the power of voting shall be con- who would constitute the second defined to a determinate number of elec- gree of election, would not constitute tors, chosen among those of largest an oligarchy, not even an aristocracy. property. A regular system of attack Aristocracy is not constituted by the is carried on against the legitimate dy- mere will of the legislator; it requires nasty. High plans of ambition arrest- time, and much time, to establish it. It ed in their course ; great hopes baffled, requires not only power, but the hehave formed an alliance with that po. reditary possession of power; and how litical fanaticism which always subsists; could this be feared, when the sub-diwhich, timid at first, shook finally the vision of fortunes carried among us alfoundations of the throne, and will soon most to infinity, opposes an infinite obdestroy them. At Lyons, as at Gre- stacle to the creation of wealth, that pri-noble, it was struck down, but not de- mary element of aristocratic power. Nostroyed; it rises bolder than ever, and mination by two classes possesses advanthreatens the conquerors. It accuses tages which have not yet been perceived. The appointment of the candidates af. whole assembly were present except a fords the means of distinguishing in single member, detained by illness. each arrondissement, the men who may This victory, however narrow, was conaspire to the honour of sitting in this sidered as deciding the question of the Chamber. It will have the effect of in- principle of election. Accordingly, on forming the government itself of those the 3d June, the first article, which eswhom their fellow-citizens judge most tablished the basis of the new law, was worthy to fill public functions. What decided by a majority of 5 (130 to would happen, if the law of the 5th Fe. 125.) bruary subsisted? The privilege, of The intelligence of this vote, when which so formidable a picture has been communicated to the public, brought drawn, might then reign in effect, and, on a crisis, which for some time past I confess, would not be long of beco- had been gradually threatening. Vaming bloody. But this is not the pri- rious circumstances had combined to vilege with which we are threatened. put Paris in a ferment. On the night It would be that of men trained in the of the 28th April, a bomb-shell was principles of a liberty which I do not discharged under the windows of the Fear to call despotism, and whose mind Duchess of Berry, with a very loud is exalted by a species of fever, which detonation ; the object of which was I would wish not to call revolutionary. 'suspected to be that of causing the With tbem the history of our misfor. abortion of the Princess." The person tunes would soon begin afresh. On concerned, however, made his escape: the other side, what ground have we but on the night of the 6th May, he for apprehension. À party which was found on the same spot, preparing would wish to revive extinguished one of greater dimensions. He proved rights, to injure acquired rights, to to be an ex-officer of the name of Graoverthrow the constitutional system es. vier, a deformed little man. He pretablished by the charter, would fail in tended to have merely wished to amuse this enterprize, unless it were strong himself by giving a false alarm to the enough to make a new revolution; but royal guards 'posted there ; but when as to the power of making such a re- the piece was examined, it was found volution, ask your consciences, and say wrapped in papers, on which seditions in what part of France it resides." verses were written. Several of his

On the 25th May, after ten days of comrades were arrested during the debate, only a third part of the orators night, among whom similar instruinscribed had spoken; but as all the ments were found. He and an assoarguments on both sides seemed ex. ciate of the name of Bouton were hausted, and the mind of every one brought to trial, and condemned to made up, the assembly used the power death, which sentence, however, at the whicb it has reserved in its hands, of intercession of the Duchess, was comclosing a debate, the continuance of muted into that of hard labour for which it considers unnecessary. There life. remained still the detailed examination An incident so serious, joined to the of the clauses. The only important discussions in the Chamber, and variamendment was one moved by Camille ous reports of a sinister nature that Jourdan, which went to do away with were industriously circulated, produthe whole principle of the new law. Af- ced an extraordinary fermentation, both ter a warm debate, it was negatived by in Paris and the departments. The a majority of 10 (133 to 123.) The Duke d’Angouleme, in a journey which he undertook through France, the Peers, rendered the prospect more was everywhere received with cries of critical. The Guards, rendered odious Vive la Charte ! an expression which by the catastrophe of Lallemand, were was understood to import a decided hos., withdrawn; but all the gen-d'armerie tility against the constitutional changes were called out, and the troops in and in contemplation. In the course of near Paris were held in readiness to the debates on the law of elections, the march at a moment's warning: The liberal deputies were escorted home by sitting of the Chamber almost resemcrowds of people, raising the same ex. bled that of the Convention, during clamation. It was not, however, till the most stormy periods of the Revothe passing of the first article of the lution. This similarity was alluded to law of elections, that the tumults: rose by Camille Jordan, who was the first to any alarming height. The crowd speaker. " At that time," he said, collected on that day far surpassed any the authors of the insults on the naformer assemblage. In France, and, tional representation were chiefly men generally, on the continent, the most covered with rags, drawn from the active personages on these occasions dregs of the people. Yet even then the are the students, who almost univern; insults never rose to such a height as sally support the principles of liberty, now, when well.dressed men, armed not only in words, but in deeds. Of with canes, used violence to compel them the crowd which blocked up the others to join with them in crying Vive door of the Chambers after this critic le Roi. All these men came from the cal vote, was chiefly composed. An- same place, were guided by the same other party, who were afterwards un- chiefs, obeyed the impulse of the same derstood to be in a great measure com- agents. Every one might see that these posed of guard soldiers, dressed as ci- excesses had not been sufficiently check tizens, and varmed with large canes, ed. I do not blame the authorities,” raised loud cries of Vive le Roi. Amid said he ; "they were struck with ter, so violent acollision of sentiments, ror; they feared to find powerful men quarrels were not long of arising, which among the guilty.” At the same time from words came to blows ; and the M. Lafitte presented a letter from the tumult quickly rose to a great height, father of Lallemand, stating that his Detachments of gen-d'armerie, and son had been guilty of no violence, but even of the Royal Guard, were called was walking peaceably, and unarmed, in : they at first dispersed the rioters when he received the fatal blow. without difficulty ; but in the midst of In reply to these charges, the Keepthe tumult, one of the Guard soldiers er of the Seals imputed the troubles fired a musket, which struck a young to the giddiness of a few rash and impru.. student of the name of Lallemand, who dent young men, who had seized this was carried home, and died in two opportunity of raising a disturbance. hours,

To have surrounded the Chambers This disastrous event redoubled the with a great military force, on account agitation which already prevailed of the first slight disturbances, would throughout Paris. Placards were fix, have been to raise an indiscreet alarm; ed on the walls of the different schools, it would have had the appearance inviting the youths to assemble, and even of imposing a restraint on t take vengeance. The stormy debates deliberations. When a great crowd is expected in the Chamber of Deputies, assembled, and parties are heated, it and the approaching trial of Louvel in was impossible to prevent deeds of


.!:70 :(



« AnteriorContinua »