15 MAY 1880, Page 3

The French Government is still afraid to concede an unlimited

right of public meeting. It has brought in a Bill containing a clause enabling the agent of Govern- ment present at a meeting to dissolve it, if the chair- man tolerates appeals to revolt or armed demonstration. The extreme Left opposed, but M. de Freycinet persisted, and said France was not as yet prepared for unlimited liberty, though he believed the time would come. It was then dis- covered that the Chamber intended to reject the clause, and as this would have been a severe defeat, M. Gambetta suggested that the clause should be referred back to the Committee, which was agreed to. The clause does not seem to be worth much, while the Government can prosecute anybody who preaches sedition. Besides, in France who does not understand veiled speech, and how is a meeting to be dissolved because an orator pointedly dissuades his audience from descending into the streets ?