11 DECEMBER 1880, Page 3

Monsignore Cotton, the Bishop of Valence, appeared yester- day week

before the Court of Appeal, sitting as a Court of First Instance, on a charge of insulting a public functionary, M. FalliZtres, the Under-Secretary of the Minister of Worship. The so-called " insult " was contained in a letter marked "con- fidential," and addressed only to the Under-Secretary in ques- tion; and the insult was contained in these words :—" To treat as you are doing liberty of the Press, personal liberty, liberty of teaching, all liberties, is the height of ill-faith and cynicism. It will be vain to offer us all the savings of the President of the Republic and his Ministers, money which you put into your pockets to gorge your tools The love of money is the distinctive feature of the men who govern us." To treat such language, privately addressed to an official, as st punishable in- sult, is almost grotesque; but the Penal Oode does subject to an imprisonment of from a fortnight to two years any person in- suiting an official administrator or a Judge in the exercise of his duties, even by private letter. The Court very sensibly acquitted the Bishop, considering that there was no intention to insult ; and this would be most satisfactory, if the Court were really in spirit and temper Republican. But if the majority of the Court were, as is probable, reactionary in political feeling, the acquittal would show nothing but sympathy with the Bishop. The French Republic will never be strong till it can bear with com- posure, and without vindictiveness, the attacks of its enemies.