NEWS OF THE WEEK.
THE event of the week was one of the earliest that distinguished it—the Division of the House of Commons, at one o'clock on Sun- day morning. All men knew that the Bill must be read a second time, but few even of the Reformers anticipated a majority of 162 in a House which numbered only 486 members—it was just two to one. In the second reading of the last Bill, in a House which considerably exceeded 600, the majority, it may be recollected, was only 137. The difference has not been produced by conversions. We are not aware that the majority offers a single name which had previously figured among the Anti-Reform lists. On the con- trary, there are several wanting that appeared in the first divi- sion. The difference has been produced solely from the hanging back of the Anti-Reformers. Among those who have given up the game as desperate, we cannot, however, include any of the• representatives of the lannowsiEs, the WHARNCLIFFES, and the few other very moderate Reformers among the Peers. They were at their posts, and spoke and voted as boldly as ever; and throughout the Country, we find them as active, holding little meetings, and signing little protests, as they were in July last. There appears, therefore, not the slightest prospect of accommoda- tion between the friends of the Bill and them. One or two Peers may come over, or remain neuter; but the great majority of the Forty-one Continue resolute to oppose the King and the People. In this state of the question, there remains for the Ministers but that one course which has so often been pressed on their notice, and of which, having given to the Upper House every possible warning, we believe they are determined, with the full consent and approbation of the King, to avail themselves7-4 LIBERAL CREA- TION or PEERS. That this is the true constitutional course—the course Which justice to the Na:tion,-to the King, and to themselves, imperiously call ori them to adopt—they are well convinced; that it will prove as beneficial to the Lords as it Will to the rest of the community, we have no doubt a very few months will most fully demonstrate. From the beginning we have said, that to this it must come at last; and we rejoice heartily that at last it has come to this. The Tories and their tools will bluster, nor shall we seek to stop them. "They say—what say they? Let them say !"
The proposal for abolishing the Hereditary Peerage of France was submitted to the Upper Chamber on Monday, by the Mike DE CAZES. The Duke does not speak in very complimentary terms of the projet, which lie:has undertaken to commend to the apPro- bation of his brethren— .
"That the hereditary principle gives greater force and independence to the Peerage,, no one thinks of. contesting; that it is in this respect a.powerful gua- rantee for the eotintry, -reason affirms, and facts prove; that the destruction of this guarantee will ho Of no advantage to liberty or to-the Crown itself, but that whatever the one gains in power, the other will lose in stability, your Commission are unanimously of opinion ; and we are too certain that this 'conviction is yours also, to consider any miertiOn -necessary to induce you to partake of it with us: We deem it eepecielly our duty to .submit to you the principles and the facts whiekhavelerf us. tothis -conclusion, before we pass to the examination of the circintigtkides the application ofWhich done has divided our opinions."
The Dukej.proeVeded to argue theadvantages of hereditary legis- lation, in somewhat of i'SeliOolboy style- " We have already told on that this Governmentcould be stable only in pro- yortion as the three powers which compose it 'preserve in their character the neeessarY strength and independence.- The Royal power derives strength from Its perpetuity, from the sanction of the law, the action of the administration, and the command of the army. The Popular power has for it, the opinion which it creates and renews, the voting of taxes, the impeachment of Ministers, and that constant interference with the acts of a Ministry, more powerful even than accusation. In presence of all these means of action what will be the means of resistance possessed by the Chamber of Peers, whether it place itself as mediator between them, or whether it contend with them both ; called upon also by its position, and its nature, to resist public opinion, by opposing itself to its passions and its prejudices? Its perpetuity was its force ; by that its in- dependence was insured. Opinion does not separate power from duration ; the idea of ability and experience is justly connected in all minds with that which is hereditary. The loss of the hereditary element would deprive the Peerage of this conservative instinct, this spirit of conduct, which is perpetuated in such bodies, which is transmitted front age to age, as a family tradition, and renders their experience their principles, and their politics, as hereditary as the titles of the members Which compose them. It was perpetuity which constituted the wisdom and the strength of the Roman Senate, as well as the greatness of Rome herself; which raised our Parliaments to the rank of political bodies, and in- sured their independence by giving to them that admirable character and man- ner which procured them the respect of nations. Property is the basis and foundation of societies. Without transmission there is no property • there- fore the hereditary principle is itself the basis of Society as well as of fami- lies. It is said to be a privilege ! No doubt ; but a constitutive privilege of societies—a privilege like that of property—like all the conventions which have substituted right for force. It is the privilege of the son over the stranger—of the will which survives the matter which is extinct. It is the first, the true condition—the corner-stone of social order."
What, then, shall induce the Peers to give up this h6r6dite, of which so many fine things are predicable ?
" On nearly every social question, the immense majority in France is mode- rate andfrienaly to order. The question is not to give to this majority any oc- casion to complain, or let it join grievances with those violent opinions -from.. which it generally keeps aloof; were it even necessary, in order to obtain this - end, to give way to some susceptible minds, to modify certain guarantees until they are better understood and regretted. Without admitting the lawfulness of the imperative mandates, and taking them only for symptoms of the domi- neering spirit, must we not acknowledge, that the electoral opinion, reproduced by the votes of the other Chamber, was to a great majority contrary to the maintenance of an hereditary Peerage, and that an immediate trial attempted upon this opinion would excite it still more ? The Peers, in uniting against the imposing majority of the other Chamber, will undoubtedly make a painful sacri- fice; but can they hesitate, if, at this price, they insure the actual harmony of the powers, in saving them from a struggle which 'would -weaken them more than a concession itself? Permanent members of an assembly, the ascendancy of which it is the interest of the Crown to strengthen by choices worthy of them, they will have on their side the popularity of a noble disinterestedness, the ulte- rior influence of public discussion and that authority of principles and experi- ence which is • necessarily attached to the immoveability of a political body. With the suppression of an hereditary Peerage, the legislative vote of the Cham- ber of Peers will not be less powerful to modify, suspend, or reject every resolu- tion which might be contrary to the interests of the state. Secure from the reproach of personal interest, haying satisfied the exaggerations of anti-aristo- cratical suspicion, the Chamber Of Peers will possess more moral strength to repel new pretensions. It will no longer be accused of seeking and defending its own privileges in all social questions. It will be acknowledged, that it has no other interest and aim in its efforts than the maintenance of the constitutional throne, public liberties, private property, and the common right of civilized men., which is at present threatened by a spirit of anarchy ? Thus the Chamber of Peers, a necessary part of the state, would preserve its conservative mission ; it would be snore closely connected with the throne ; and it is-a public guarantee after a change of dynasty: It would have nothing offensive to the spirit of equality so prevailing in these times ; and it is also a happy condition for a power charged by its nature to check and to maintain."
There is, however, still a doubt to be removed; when the heredite is abolished, will the People be content? Will this be the last attack on the integrity of the Upper Chamber?
"Will not the Chamber of Peers, stripped of its hereditary right, be hereafter at- tacked in its existence? We have shared this fear, assured its we are by the good sense of the public which has sprung up in France, and learned so much for the last forty years. It is not undoubtedly sheltered against prejudices, and against being attacked; but it is invariably fixed upon certain political maxims, which have been unfortunately too long understood. The existence of a second legislative irremove- able Chamber—the necessity: that it should be independent of the popular vote, and that, faithful to the best interests of the nation., it should not comply with the capricious opinions of the times,—such are the government maxims which henceforward enter into the domain of public reason. Some minds may still, and will always attack them ; but all shades of enlightened opinions combine in defending them, and they have the sanction of prinmple and of experience. Thus, with the strengthening of order and public liberty, the legal rights of the Cham- ber of Peers' seconded- by its services, far from ever being in danger, will e. t every thing from the progress of public opinion, which cannot always misunder- stand the advantages of the salutary principle now rejected, and not keep an ac- count of the duty which Will be imposed on your patriotism."
On the question for abolishing the heredite, the Committee of the Peers appointed to consider the projet were equally divided, seven voting for and seven against the reception of the proposition. On that of the categories, as they are called—that is, the list of qualified persons, out of which the King must select Peers in future—there was less division. On the whole, it seems most pro- bable that the bill Will pass quietly, unless the Ministers shall find, from their experience of the Lower Chamber, that their places can be secured without it. They certainly went into the plan from compulsion, and at a time when their power wviiiiM 41.1341N—",wi:' ceedingly precarious compared with what it is now. Witl as they wish it to be considered with the Peers, the bill sacrifice to popular opinion, not to popular justice, At the lime, we have little apprehension that its passing will endanger the House of Peers; on the contrary, we have no doubt that with- out such a law the House of Peers could not exist for many years longer. There is no prestige attached to their body—no real weight iof fortune and personal influence to give them respect. The Duke DE CAZES wholly forgets, when he talks of the herklit6 and its wonder-working powers, that the House of Peers, as a real branch of the government, is no more than sixteen years old; that its privileges, previous to the Restoration, were a shadow only, which the Imperial light could at any time dispel; that since the Restora- tion, its independence was, by a single act of Sovereign authority, humbled in the dust—by a legitimate King too ; and that, as the law of France at present stands,* the Monarch may, out of any class of society, select as many Life Peers as shall annihilate all its hereditary wisdom and hereditary power.
The following is the projet submitted by M. DE CAZES to the Chamber :— " 1. The nomination of the members of the chamber of Peers to belong to the King, who cannot choose them but among the following classes.
[Here follows a list of the categories from which the King must name, as pro- posed by the Chamber of Deputies, except art. 21. The Commission proposes to leave out the words which require that a proprietor, manufacturer, merchant, banker, Six. paying 13,000 francs of taxes, shall not be eligible, unless he shall also have been during six years a member of a general council, or of a chamber IV commerce..] "26. The conditions of the admissibility to the Peerage can be modified by a law.
" 27. The ordinances naming the Peers shall be individual, and shall indicate the services and titles in respect of which the nomination shall be founded.
" 28. The number of Peers is unlimited.
"29. Their dignity is conferred for life, and is not to be transmissible by he- reditary right.
"130. They take rank among themselves, by order of nomination. "31. For the future, no pension, nor salary, nor donation can be attached to the dignity of a peer."
A communication to the Chamber of Deputies, on the subject of the riots at Lyons, was made on Saturday, by M. CASIMIR PERIER. The Minister admitted that the immediate cause of the outbreaking was the price-list agreed on between the manufacturers and work- men, and sanctioned by the local authorities, although without the approbation or knowledge of Government; or rather, it was the ddeparture from the price-list by the manufacturers. He explained the cause of that delay which took place previous to the entry of Marshal SOULT and the Prince of ORLEANS into the city; it was meant to allow the angry passions which the disturbances had roused a time for subsidence—to remove the danger of resistance, which would have led to the shedding of more blood, and also the. -danger of reaction, which would have been equally disastrous. He complimented the soldiery highly for their conduct- ." Honour to the Army, for having proved that, if a perjured Government could not find French swords to support the violation of the laws, a national Go- vernment could call on them to defend the institutions of the country against what assailant soever."
He explained the reason why, when the laws had resumed their -usual authority, and the magistrate was once more confirmed in his power, the Marshal and the Prince should leave the mainten- ance of order to their joint influence- " The dreadful scenes and detestable crimes of the days of riot would be brought under the regular co,gnizanee of justice. He would only remark to those people who pretended to the honour of being free, that liberty was the despotism of the law."
The most interesting part of the Minister's address adverted to the general causes Of the distress which pervades not Lyons alone, but the whole of France—it might have been said the whole of Europe.
"There has been suffering ; there has been embarrassment. We admit it, but with a reservation against the exaggeration of complaints, which, with the present means of publicity, are rendered more striking, inasmuch as they have more organs and more echoes. We admit the suffering of the country ; but on looking round we have a confident prospect of future prosperity : the present also is ameliorating daily; and unfailing remedies have been applied to tempo- rary sufferings. "We admit it; but, at the same time, we repel the assertions of men who make of this commercial crisis a means of attack upon the Government, without perceiving, I am inclined to hope, that they unfortunately second the hostility- of those who are so anxious to convert it into aveapon to assail our Revolution itself. The language of the systematic adversaries of our new liberties ought, however, to enlighten their defenders as to the danger of those hasty reproaches which are laid hold of with avidity, as tending to bring into reproach other things than the Ministry.. ' "Let us recal to mind, Gentlemen, what we all predicted and announced-- What we knew—what we all said, a long time before the Revolution of July, at tile period when the commercial crisis took place in England, in 1825. It was predicted that that crisis would make the round of the Continent. We even Uard a Minister, who ought to have spoken flatteringly of an appearance of prosperity, reproach speculators with making too great efforts, and-, following t he example of Lord Liverpool, accuse the spirit of industry of a giddiness which exposed it to lamentable mistakes. Without speaking of other kinds of speculations and enterprises, let us not Sirget, that at that period it was demonstrated, that the supply of manufactured goods had exceeded the demand in an alarming manner. Thus it soon hap- :paled, that if the workmen supported by the patriotism of the manufacturers
stilLwent on with their labour, the latter had no other value in hand than the
4,'The 28r1 article of the Charter as it exists runs thus—" The nomination of the -of France belongs to the King. Their number is unlimiad. He can name the 'ties. He can name them for life, or render them hereditary, according to his plea- aiteP products themselves, which had replaced the money laid out upon them, and they were forced- to give to the productive power what the sale no longer reim- bursed to them.
" It was in this state of things that the country was surprised with revolu- tion ; a revolution, of which the principle, however, legitimate, brought about the consequences inseparable from all .political crises, that of making capital scarce, suspending consumption, and interrupting labour,—results, to which blind fear and calculating malevolence both contributed ; and the necessity of winding up so many undertakings, manufactures, and enterprises, few of which existed after 1825 except by the aid of accommodation bills. There was then a sort of general balancing called for by alarm. ‘6Let us add to these elements of perturbation, a fear of war, which, during the latter months of 1860, every one entertained, and which, even after as- surances to the contrary, certain parties continued to keep up, leaving a doubt only as to the period. Let us reed to mind the menacing 'provocations against property, by the aid of absurd theorists, who have also their abettors, or by acts of violence destined in some sort to serve as trials of the public feeling. Let US remember the encouragement bestowed upon the vanity and ambition arisins- out of the march of events—the attempts to convince the public that there could be no revolution in the Government unless it resulted from a revolution in the private fortune of every citizen. Let us also consider how the commercial crisis of 1830, and the moral crisis caused by revolutionary writings, irritated a com- mercial and industrious crisis of ancient date, but which broke out suddenly. If we do this, gentlemen, so far from discouraging opinions and interest—so far from accusing the present as if it were the legacy of the past, and interdicting the hope of a better future, we shall rather be astonished that the evil was not of greater extent, and that elements of security and the means of reparation should already present themselves from all parts to the wisdom of the powers of the State. So far from throwing upon our Revolution, upon our Government, the blame of a temporary distress, we shall see, by the liberties re-established by the one, and the confidence inspired by the other, the elements of amelioration, which have saved our country alike from the guilty efforts of those who only saw in our Revolution the signal for civil war, or fromthose who wished to im- pose upon our Government the sad necessity of a foreign war."
M. CASIMIR PERIER afterwards adverted to the expenses of Government, and complained, that in drawing conclusions from their amount, his opponents were too much in the habit of con- founding the extraordinary demands, which their own conduct had produced, with those which were required for the every-day busi- ness of the State. He alluded with much point to the grand cure for the evils of stagnation, and the burdens of taxation— "With relation to the interests of the state, or to those of the labouring classes, peace is the best economy that can be resorted to—disarming the best amendment to the budget. "It was, on our comm.- into power, our first thought—the object of all our efforts. We have succeeded; and the future, a future only nearly approaching, will prove, gentlemen, that it has been the chief encouragement to industry, the most certain aid to commerce the most abundant resource to the labourer.
"But to defend peace, to have the conscience to act patriotically, resisting on all sides patriotic passions, requires a consistency which you have appreciated and sustained.
"We have measured the lists, gentlemen ; we doubt not that we shall enter them ; and it is for that we have summoned you. France would not wish for peace but in unison with independence and honour—she will not give or accept it but at that price. This is what has supported our courage in the endeavour to maintain it ; and, if you yourselves recollect the obstacles, the menaces, and the sinister presages, by which we were so long assailed, you may, perhap,, be of opinion that a much greater degree of courage was required to sustain such a line of policy than to make war. " This is the whole of our system, and the whole of yours, gentlemen, for you have adopted, and several times sanctioned it ; and we have henceforth the confidence of satisfying the county in satisfying your wishes, who alone legally and sincerely express theirs. " This system has for its object, to support at home a spirit of order and of moderation which tends to tranquillize imaginations—a conscientious language, which applies itself to the preservation of the interests of those individuals who are mistaken in their views inspiring them with moder- ate expectations, sustaining their efforts with frankness and firmness, iii remov- ing from them all inordinate longings, and teaching them that free govern- ments do not take upon themsels es the task of creating fortunes, but merely second private industry by protecting labour and property, the mutual guaran- tees of each other."
The speech of M. PERIER was heard with respectful attention and applause. It was unanimously ordered to be printed for distribu- tion, at the expense of the Chamber.
The speech of the President of the Council was answered on Monday, by M. MAUGTJIN, in a long, intemperate, and rambling harangue, embracing a general history of the Ministerial delin- quencies. The debate was continued on Tuesday and Wednesday, when M. PERIER rejoined to M. MAUGUIN, and ODILLONBARROT to M. PERIER; but its interest is small, and had not the English Daily Journals been at the present moment somewhat at a loss for matter to fill their broad sheets, we should hardly have had more than a passing allusion to what now occupies columns, which could not be easily devoted to any subject in which an English reader will find less amusement or instruction.
A disgraceful scene took place while M. PERIER was ill the act of retiring for refreshment, in the midst of his speech, in reply to M. MAUGUIN. M. DUMOLARD, Prefect of Lyons, attacked him in the lobby of the Chamber, loaded him with reproaches, and threatened even to strike the aged Minister. M. PERIER bore this outrage with singular calmness, and would not permit it even to be mentioned in the Chamber : it seems, however, to have greatly smoothed the further progress of the debate, from the in- dignation it naturally excited. M. DumoLARD has been most de- servedly struck off the list of Councillors, and has resigned his. Prefectship. He is blamed as the great cause of the late disturb- There was a row in Paris on Monday, occasionedby,the students of the medical schools; who insisted on going in procession to the hotel where the Polish Generals are lodged, to express their sym- pathy with these gallant and unfortunate men; this they did con- trary to the wishes both of the public authorities and, of the strangers whom they professed to compliment. The Police inter- fered; the procession was broken, and several prisoners made. There is no patriotism in these silly exhibitions ; they have their origin in sheer vanity and fondness for display. A thinking person must utterly despise practices which have no other end than to draw cheers from idle boys, and to excite the fears of elderly women. Are there not a great many English and /rid/ among these stu- dents? Young Englishmen are generally given to make fools of themselves abroad, and young Irishmen du the same both abroad and at home.