Steadily, unrelentingly, the " Prince President," as his admirers affect
to call M. Bonaparte, labours at the completion of his spider- web constitution. The last addition to it is his system of police, which places every action of every Frenchman under the constant watch of public and household spies. An organized police espion- age, says M. Bonaparte, is necessary to keep the Government ac- curately informed of the condition and feelings of the people. A free press would be a far more effectual engine for such a purpose. The electoral law for the Legislative Body has been promulgated. Its provisions, harmless or otherwise, are of little consequence. Independent candidates will not be allowed to canvass the electors : and the Legislative Body, when elected, is to meet under the eye of the President and his police, secluded from public observation, to register, without criticism, the laws presented for its sanction.
Orders have been transmitted to the Prefects to set at liberty the greater part of the police prisoners arrested since the 2d of Decem- ber; and a fresh decree substitutes for the courts-martial which were to try such prisoners, tribunals composed partly of civilians. There is no true clemency here. Under Robespierre, the civil functionaries were more obsequious, base, and bloodthirsty, than the military. But to liberate prisoners without trial, is to confess their innocence yet make them no amends for their unjust deten- tion. It is still impossible to ascertain the state of feeling and opinion in the departments ; but facts do transpire, now and then, from which it must be inferred that gross and wanton tyranny is there the order of the day.