NEWS OF THE WEEK.
REVOLUTION IN FRANCE.
THE .Constitutional Government of France is at an end. The liberty of the press is no more. The Chamber of Deputies, -whose election was scarcely completed, has been dissolved before it was even allowed to meet. The law of election is abrogated. The monarchy is restored to the simple form of despotism which it possessed before the Revolution of 1789. The &luta. of the long strugzle for freedom from that period to the sera of the Restora- tion have perished, as have the benefits which the Restoration had for fifteen years continued to confer. The Royal ordinances by which so great and hazardous changes are sought to be effected, were published in the Moniteur of Mon- day last ; and their appearance excited, we believe, as much sur- prise in England—cettainly among the people of England—as they did in Paris. We shall describe them in their order. The document on :which the rest are founded, is a Report to the King on the evils of the press, signed by the whale of the Cabinet Ministers. We give this report entire. It is worthy of preservation, were it ort!v to show to what description of wits ths,, destinies of a great natio • may, by the anger of Heaven acting through the folly'
I. occasionally subjected. (111r readers will not expect
it w 1d insult their unde,-6tananizs Ly a refutation of at arm P OUT TO TIIE KING.
" SIRE,—Your Minister's would be little worthy of the confidence with which your Majesty honours them, if they lonair delayed to place before your eyes a view of our internal situation, and point out to your high wisdom the dangers of the periodical press.
" At no time for these fifteen years has this situation presented itself under a more serious and more afflicting aspect. Notwithstanding an ac- tual prosperity, of which our annals afford no example, signs of disor- ganization and symptoms of anarchy manifest themselves at almost every point of the kingdom. The successive causes which have concurred to weaken the springs of the Monarchical Government tend now to impair and to change the nature of it. Stripped of its moral force, authority, lost in the capital and the provinces, no longer contends but at a disadvan- tage with the factious; pernicious and subversive doctrines, loudly pro- fessed, are spread. and propagated among all classes of the population— alarms too generally credited, agitate people's minds and trouble society. On all sides the present is called upon for pledges of security for the fu- ture.
"An active, ardent, indefatigable malevolence labours to ruin all the foundations of order, and to snatch from France the happiness it enjoys under the sceptre of its Kings. Skilful in turning to advantage all dis- contents, and to excite all hatreds, it foments among the people a spirit of distrust and hostility towards power, and endeavours to sow every- where the seeds of trouble and civil war; and already, Sire, recent events have proved that political passions, hitherto confined to the summits of society, begin to penetrate the depths of it, and to stir up the popular classes. It is proved, also, that these masses would never move without danger, even to those who endeavour to rouse them from repose. A multitude of facts collected in the course of the electoral'ope rations, con- firm these data, and would offer us the too certain presage of new corn- motions, if it were not in the power of your Majesty to avert the mis- fortune.
" Everywhere, also, if we observe with attention, there exists a neces- sity of order, of strength, and of duration ; and the agitations which appear to be the most contrary to it are, in reality, only the expression and the testimony of it. " It must be acknowledged that these agitations, "which cannot be in- creased without great dangers, are almost exclusively produced and ex- cited by the liberty of the press. A law on the elections, no less fruitful of disorders, has doubtless concurred in maintaining them ; but it would be denying what is evident, to refuse seeing in the Journals the principal focus of a corruption, the progress of which is every day more sensible, and the first source of the calamities which threaten the kingdom.
"Experience, Sire, speaks more loudly than theories. Men who are doubtless enlightened, and whose good faith is not suspected, led away by the-ill-understood example of a neighbouring people, may have be- lieved that the advantages of the periodical press would balance its incon- veniences, and that its excesses would be neutralized by contrary exces• ses. It is not so; the proof is decisive ; and the. question is now judged in the public mind.
"At all times, in fact, the periodical press has been, and it is in its nature to be, only an instrument of disorder and sedition.
" What numerous and irrefragable proofs may be brought in support of this truth It is by the violent and incessant action of the press that
the too sudden and too frequent variations of our internal policy are to be explained. It has not permitted a regular and stable system of Go- vernment to be established in France, nor any constant attention to be devoted to introduce into all the branches of the Administration the ame- lioration of which they are susceptible. All the Ministries since the year 1814, though formed under divers influences, and subject to opposite directions, have been exposed to the same attacks and to the same license of the passions.. Sacrifices of every kind, concessions of power, alliances of party—nothing has been able to save them from this common destiny. " This comparison alone, so fertile in reflections, would suffice to as- sign to the press its true, its invariable character. It endeavours by con- stant, persevering, and daily repeated efforts, to relax all the bonds of obedience and subordination—to weaken all the springs of public autho- rity—to degrade and debase it in the opinion of the people—to create against it, every where, embarrassment and resistance. " Its art consists, not in substituting, for a too easy submission of mind, a prudent liberty of examination, but to reduce to a problem the most positive truths; not to excite upon pblitical questions frank and useful controversy, but to place them in a false light, and to solve them by so- phisms.
" The press has thus excited confusion in the most upright minds—has shaken the most firm convictions—and produced in the midst of society a confusion of principles, which lends itself to the most fatal attempts. It is by anarchy in doctrines that it paves the way for anarchy in the State. It is worthy of remark, .Sireethat the periodical press has not even ful- filled its most essential condition—that of publicity. What is strange, but what may be said with truth, is, that there is no publicity in France —taking this word in its just and strict sense. In this state of things, facts, when they are not entirely fictitious, do not come to the knowledge of several millions of readers, except mutilated and disfigured in the most odious manner. A thick cloud, raised by the journals, conceals the truth, and, in some measure, intercepts the light between the Government and the people. The Kings, your predecessors, Sire, always loved to commu- nicate with their subjects. This is a satisfaction which the press has not thought fit that your Majesty should enjoy. " A licentiousness, which has passed all bounds, has, in fact, not respected, even on the most solemn occasions, either the express will of the King,. i.e the words pronounced from the Throne. Some have been misundersra and misinterpreted, the others have been the subject of perfidious eoinmentaries or of bitter derision. It is thus that the last act of the 1-0.1t 1 power—the Proclamation—was discredited by the public men for it was known-by the electors. " ills • not all : the Press tends to no less than -to subjugate the
• ,_ aad to invade the powers of the State. The pretended argon
_„-aefike;.aealiMin, it aspires to direct the debates of the two eliarnhers ; it is inet;iite.siAle that it brings into them the weight of an infloence no less fatal than decistve This dorninatioop has, assumed, especially within these two or three years, in the Chamber dr the Deputies, a manifest character of oppression and tyranny. We have seen in this interval of time the Journals pursue with their insults, and their outrages, the Mem- bers whose votes appear to them uncertain or suspected. Too often, Sire, the freedom of debate in that Chamber has sunk under the reiterated blows of the Press. ,3
"The conduct of the Opposition Journals, in the most recent circum- stances, cannot be characterized in terms less severe. After having them- selves called forth an Address derogatory to the prerogative of the Throne, they have not feared to re=establish, as a principle, the election of the two hundred and twenty-one Deputies whose work it is ; and yet your Majesty repulsed this Address as offensive—you lead publicly blamed the refusal of concurrence which was expressed in it—you had announced four immutable resolution to defend the rights of your crown, which were so openly compromised. The periodical journals have paid no re- lard to this; on the contrary, they have taken it upon them to renew, to ?erpetuate, and to aggravate the offence. Your Majesty will decide whether this presumptuous attack shall remain longer unpunished. " But of all the excesses of the Press, the most serious, perhaps, remains :o be pointed out. From the very beginning of that expedition, the ;tory of which throws so pure and so durable a splendour on the noble crown of France, the press has criticised, with unheard-of violence, the muses, the means, the preparations, the chances of success. Insensible :o the national honour, it was not its fault if our flag did not remain de- rraded by the insults of a barbarian. Indifferent to the great interests of minanity, it has not been its fault if Europe has not remained subject to a cruel slavery and a shameful tribute. " This was not enough. By a treachery which our laws might have reached, the Press has eagerly published all the secrets of the armament, brought to the knowledge pf foreigners the state of our forces, the number o' our troops, and that of our ships ; they pointed chit the stations, the aeons to be employed to surmount the variableness of the winds, and to approach the coast. Every thing—even the place of landing was divulged, ai if to give the enemy more certain means of defence ; and—a thing un- bard of among civilized people—the Press has not hesitated, by false i
warms on the dangers to be incurred, to cause discouragement in the amy, and point out to its hatred the Commander of the enterprise. It his, as it were, excited the soldiers to raise against him the standard of revolt, or to desert their colours. This is what the organs of a party wiich pretends to be national have dared to d i. " What it dares to do every day in the interior kingdom, tends to no les than to disperse the elements of public peace, to dissolve the bonds of society, and evidently to make the ground tremble under our feet. Let us sot fear to disclose here the whole extent of our evils, in order the better to qipreciate the whole extent of our resources. A system of defamation, orgnized on a great scale, and directed with unequalled perseverance, rezches, either near at hand, or at a distance, the most humble of the agaits of the Government. None of your subjects, Sire, is secure from as insult, if he receives from his Sovereign the least mark of confidence or satisfaction. A vast net thrown over France envelops all the public functionaries; placed in a constant state of accusation, they seem to be in a manner lost from civil society—only those are spared whose fidelity wasers —only those are praised whose fidelity gives way ; the others are
pular vengeance. . "The periodical Press has not displayed less ardour in pursuing with its
poisoned darts religion and its priests. Its object is, and always will be, "PRINCE P (Signed)
to root out of the heart of the people eventhe last germ of religious senti- BARON D'HAUSSEZ, CHANTELAUZE, ment. Sire, do not doubt that it will succeed in this, by attacking the CoUNT DE GUERNON, COUNT DE PEYRONNET, foundation of the Press, by poisoning the sources of public morals, and by BANVILLE, BARON CAPELLE." covering the Ministers of the Altars with derision and contempt.
" No strength, it must be confessed, is able to resist a dissolving power
lousies and hatreds—striking terror into the minds of timid men, and a word, the periodical press of France was, as regards freedom, on harassing authority by endless intrigues, has exercised a decisive influence precisely the same footing as in England. By the ordinances, no on the elections. journal can be published without a licence, to. be renewed every observed in the manners and in the character of the nation—an ardent, tar y of the Interior, in the Departments by the Prefects. No pub- lyine, and passionate spirit of contention. The school of scandal and constantly increasing, maintains even in the bosoms of our families fatal fiscation of the publication, and confiscation or destruction of the dissensions ; and might, by degrees, throw us back into barbarism. " Against so many evils, engendered by the periodical press, both law presses and types. and justice are equally obliged to confess their want of power. It would By the last law of election, the Colleges of Arrondissement be superfluous to inquire into the causes which have weakened the power chose 258 members, the Colleges of Departments 172. The elec- of repression, and have insensibly made it an ineffectual weapon in the tions were direct in both instances. By the ordinances, one half hands of the authorities. It is sufficient to appeal to experience and to of the members are directed to be chosen by the Departmental show the present state of things. Judicial forms do not easily lend them-
selves to an effectual repression. This truth has long since struck reflect-
ing minds. It has lately become still more evident. To satisfy the wants didates chosen by the Colleges of Arrondissement. which caused its institution, the repression ought to be prompt and Such are the provisions of these ordinances ; which are des- strong. It has been slow, weak, and almost null. When it interferes the tined, unless we mistake, to form no unimportant sera in the his- mischief is already done, and the punishment, far from repairing it, only tory of France, and perhaps of Europe. That which regards the adds to the scandal of the discussion. "Zhe judicial prosecutor is wearied out! but the seditious press is neverelections contains many minor regulations, all tending one way. weary. The one stops because there is too much to prosecute : the other The number of electors will in fact be reduced to about one-third, multiplies its strength by multiplying its transgressions. and that third will be managed in such a way as to render their " In these divers circumstances, the prosecutions have had their appear- opposition to the King a matter of physical impossibility. antes of activity or of relaxation. But what does the press care for zeal The first consequence of the publication of those documents or lukewarmness in thp public prosecutor ? It seeks, in multiplying its excesses for the certainty of their impunity. " The insufficiency, or even the inutility of the institutions, established in on Saturday at 79f. ec. ; • on Monday they closed at 7ef. 60c. The the laws now in force is demonstrated by facts. It is equally proved by fall continued on Tuesday, when they closed at 72f. 40c.; the fur- facts that the public safety is endangered by the licentiousness of the ther declension cannot be ascertained, because the Exchange has press. It is time—it is more than time—to arrest its ravages. since that day been shut. On Tuesday, the Constitutionnel, and " Give ear, Sire, to the prolonged cry of indignation and of terror which rises from all parts of your kingdom. All peaceable men—We-up- a number of other'outnals, journals, declared their intention to resist the • right—the friends of order—stretch to your Majest y their suppliant hands. ordinances: the consequence was, the instant suppression of all All implore you to preserve them from the return of the calamities by the political journals in the capital—except five, three of them which their fathers or 'themselves have been so severely affected. . These Ministerial, and two moderate, which had announced their deter- alarms are too real not to be listened to—these wishes are too legitimate not to be regarded. mination to confine their columns to facts only. The Deputies "There is but one means to satisfy them—it is, to return to the and Peers that were in Paris hastened to assemble for the purpose Charter. of addressing the King ; but he was nowhere to be found. On " If the terms of the 8th Article are ambiguous, its spirit is manifest. Tuesday also, most of the shops in Paris were closed by their terri- It is certain that the Charter has not given the liberty of the journals fled owners ; the Palais Royal was shut up ; in all the public and of periodical writings. The right of publishing our personal opinions places and in the streets, bands of gendarmerie were seen driving certainly does not imply the right of publishing the opinions of others. The one is the use of a faculty which the law might leave free, the crowd before them. A number of skirmishes were the con- or subject to restriction ; the other is a commercial speculation which, sequence ; and several lives were lost. On Wednesday, the can- like others, and more than others, supposes the supersedure of the pub- non of the military were put in requisition to clear the streets— lie authority. with what loss to the inhabitants, is not known. In the mean " The intentions of the Charter on this subject are accurately explained time, all foreigners, but especially all the English, whom the Labe- in the law of October 21, 1814, which is in some measure the appendix to it. This is the less doubtful, as this law was presented to the Cham- ml journals have rendered obnoxious to the common people, are bers on the 5th of July ; that is to say, one month after the promulgation quitting Paris. The Deputies, who hold that the King cannot dis- of the Charter. solve a Chamber which has not met, have resolved to hold their " In 1819, at the time when a contrary system prevailed in the Chem- sittings at the appointed day, the 3rd of August ; and a notice has governed been published, calling on the National Guard, which was broken overned by the enactment of the 8th Article. This truth is, besides,
bers, it was openly proclaimed there that the periodical press was not
attested by the very laws which have imposed upon the journals the con- during VILLELE'S Administration, to reassemble; and three corn- dition of giving securities. panics have, it is said, already obeyed the call. One judge, on " Now, Sire, nothing remains but to inquire how this return to the being appealed to, has declared against the legality of the ordi- Charter, and to the law of 21st October, 1814, is to be effected. The nances, which yet the gendarmes resolutely enforce. In a word, " We must not deceive ourselves—we are no longer in the ordinary all the reports from Paris represent it in the condition of a town gravity of the present juncture has solved this question. condition of a Representative Government. The principle on which It besieged, and the King and the Ministers as the besiegers. has been established could not remain entire amidst the political vicissi- The transactions which we have briefly narrated, have sur- prriinsed as much as they have grieved us. We reasoned on general tends to put itself in the place of the legitimate power. It disposes of p
tudes. A turbulent democracy, which has penetrated even into our law',
the majority of the elections by means of the Journals, and the assistande credit, not so much for honesty, as for common sense : events of numerous affiliations. It has paralyzed, as far as depended on it, the regular exercise of the most essential prerogative of the Crown—tint of dissolving the Elective Chamber. By this very thing the Constitutim they will soon prove that they are also destitute of the latter—that and consolidate it upon its foundation. plans, so evidently concocted in mischief, will, by their folly, work of the State is shaken. Your Majesty alone retains the power to replete "The right, as well as the duty, of assuring its maintenance, is the is- their own destruction—that POLIGNAC and PEYRONNET are not separable attribute of the Sovereignty. No government on earth would moral monsters, men endowed with intellects powerful enough to
remain standing, if it had not the right to provide for its own securily. This power existed before the laws, because it is in the nature of things. These, Sire, are maxims which have in their favour the sanction of tine,
and the assent of all the publicists of Europe. In the mean time, it is of vast importance to ascertain the " But these maxims have another sanction, still more positive—that of the Charter itself. The 14th article has invested your Majesty with a ordinances which he has advised? We confess ourselves unable Aufficient power—not, undoubtedly, to change our institutions—bit to to answer this questMn ; we can but hazard a conjecture. In the Nt • Circumstances of imperious necessity do .not permit the exereist of the Ministry have in Paris, and in every town inFrance, Itonsolidate them, and render them more stable. first place, s supreme power to be any longer deferred. The moment is to to a gendarmerie—we should call it a New Police—disciplined under e recourse to measures which are in the spirit' of the Charter, .but their eyes, and ready at all times to act at their will. In the ch are beyond the limits of legal order, or the resources of which had second place, they have the most complete command of the pOsl. en exhausted in vain. .• officoe oo• and tahteivcsolymmessuny ithscatikotnso stbyoptheall press inferiorrnceo stopped, it will em, do not hesitate to propose to you, convinced as they ase that munication. In the last place, having put an end to all.complu- 1 These resources, Sire, your Ministers, who are to secure thefsactees
sneaked by the faction to be in the sequel, without doubt; sacrificed to pm. u We are, with the most profound respect, Sire, your Majesty's most
huiflble and most faithful subjects, .
OLIGNAC, MONTBEL,11 ' ■4.?"• .i: it This report is followed by an ordinance, which suspends the so active as the Press. At all times, when it has been freed from its fet- freedom of the press ; a second, which dissolves the Chamber of ters, it has made an irruption and invasion in the State. One cannot but Deputies ; a third, which annuls the law of election ; a fourth, he singularly struck with the similitude of its effects during these last which fixes the meeting of the Colleges as regulated by the former fifteen years, notwithstanding the change of circumstances, and not- ordinance for the 5th-end 13th, and of the Chambers for the 23rd withstanding the changes of the men who have figured on the political stage. Its destiny, in a word, is to recommence the Revolution, September; and two others, in which certain Ministerial arrange- the principles of which it so loudly proclaims. Placed and replaced, ments are announced. at various intervals, under the yoke of the Censorship, it has always By the last law of the press, any person might commence a poli- resumed its liberty only to recommence its interrupted work. In tical journal, daily or weekly, on depositing a certain sum in the order to continue it with more success, it has been found an active auxi- hands of officers appointed to receive and register the deposit. In liary in the Departmental Press, which, engaging in combat local jea- " These last effects, Sire, are transitory ; but effects more durable are three months, and revocable at pleasure—in Paris by the Secre- licentiousness has produced in it most important charges and profound lication of less than forty pages (not even exec tins memoirs of alterations; it gives a false direction to people's minds ; it fills them with literary or scientific bodies, and law processes, provided they treat prejudices, diverts them from serious studies, retards them in the progress wholly or partly of politics) can he published without a licence of the sciences and the arts, excites among us a fermentation which is from the Home Secretary or the Prefect. The penalties are con- Colleges directly, the remaining half by the same body from can- was a fall in the French Funds of 4 per cent. The Threes closed ciples, and have been deceived. We gave the French Ministers have proved that they are destitute of the former ; we trust that ll compass the destruction of their country, and hearts base enough to desire it.
limits of their power of doing evil. Can the Prince enforce the means of the Prefects, who. are chosen by Ministers, and the Pre- sidents of Colleges, backed by the military, who are ordered to obey them, procure the return of any members they please. Vheseretunis once procured, that 'which has begun in sheer violence may be consecrated by law ; and the chains which have been hastily, and, as may appear, recklessly, thrown over the French public, may be riveted, perhaps, for ages. There is no legal appeal against a Cabinet which professedly sets itself above the law ; the same power which alters one statute can alter another. There is, in fact, but one way in which the Ministers can be thwarted—by a simultaneous rising of the people all over the kingdom—by a general riot. Reforms in states, where the form of government is purely despotic, as that of France may at present be termed, cannot be brought about in any other way than by physical resistance. There is another question of almost equal importance : have the French Ministry received any promises of support in their career of madness ? from Austria—from the Netherlands—the one detesting, the other decrying every description cf political discussion ? Have they received any promise of support from England? The French form of election—the abregated form— has been the theme of repeated panegyric ; the working, of their system has been held up to the approbation of our own electors. Did the enemies of all innovation dread, in 1830, as they did in 1793, that what Englishmen admired, they might in time imitate ? Piave the attacks on the press which we witnessed not many months ago encouraged Prince POLIGNAC to put down the press of our neighbours ? We cannot think that the Ministers of England dared—we cannot think they had the wish to encourage the Ca- binet of the Thuilcries in its atrocity. It was not their interest. On the eve of a general election, the suspicion of their connivance even in such transactions must be injurious. But whatever may have been the acts or the desires of our Government, every prin- ciple calls on Englishmen at the present crisis to attend to our advice so lately given them—to choose honest and independent representatives—men ula), if a Minister should be so corrupted with power as to endeavour to imitate Prince POLIGNAC, will have the firmness to withstand him. The question of French freedom or French despotism is not ours—to Frenchmen its solution of right belongs, and to them its solution must be left.