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libels which the proposed law was meant ness, vindictive resentments, seditious
is shall we display in acts and treaties; only necessary to secure freedom, but what opinion will foreigners entertain is the only effectual means of framing of us, if we now forget those oaths ? man's mind to understand and to enMake it appear to the world, and joy it. They allowed, that the voice prove to mankind, that you are French of clamorous and seditious pamphlemen truly regenerated. For, recollect teers might justly alarm government, that it is the non-observance, that it and mislead, for a time, the governed. is the violation of the laws, which, in But they trusted in the omnipotence our unhappy disturbances, have cau. of truth, which at length is almost sed all the confusions of which France sure to prevail over all obstacles. has so long been the victim. If you They conceived that the formation of adopt this project, gentlemen, if you a public mind in France capable of leap over this barrier, who shall se- understanding sound, and rejecting cure us in future from new attacks! false reasoning, depended on free opWho shall secure those benefits which portunity being given to the inhabite are as generously promised as they ants of listening to both. The bigotted are solemnly granted by that charter? zeal, the folly, the partiality, the selfAnd what but the liberty of the press interest of censors, has been shown shall apprise the king of the truth, the by the history of literature in all errors, and the faults into which his countries where the office has subsistininisters may fall? Restrain it by ed; and it is certain that the very severe laws, by the most heavy penal. idea that a work must necessarily be ties; you will thus soften licentious- subjected to the ordeal of their criti
cism, must restrain and overawe the the animated speeches made in degenius of the author in the labours of fence of the liberty of the press,
these composition, and operate as a dise persons petitioned the Chamber, not couragement to liberal and free inves- only for liberty, but for authority to tigation by its terrors, even before prosecute the persons who had oc. their power comes into actual exer- casioned their imprisonment. The cise. Admitting the imminent evil and Chamber, by a great majority, found risk to the state of France, at this ha- that their arrest was legal under the zardous crisis, from the multiplicity penal code, and that, being accused of of seditious libels, the advocates for a serious offence, the petitioners had the freedom of the press contended, no right to apply to the Chamber for it would have been better to subject protection, since their guilt or innothose guilty of abusing the privilege cence would be ascertained in the to severe, or even capital punishment, proper court of justice. The reporter, than, under the pretext of anticipating in the name of the committee of petiand preventing their crimes, to put tions, declared that the members most the light of nations under a censorial zealous for the freedom of the press, bushel. The inefficiency of such at- were not less than their colleagues the tempts, continued these reasoners, is declared enemies of those who should equal to their impolicy. While there abuse it, for the purpose of creating is a free press in Europe, the expres. trouble and disorder in the state. sions of popular discontent will find The censors were, however, nomi. their way to it, as water to its level; nated, and put into office. Among and nothing short of an universal state their names we observe two of bad of war and non-intercourse, such as omen; those, namely, of Lemontey, existed under Buonaparte, will pre- formerly a deputy to the Legislative vent France from receiving from other Assembly, who had been already a countries, with an interest and curio. theatrical censor in the days of Buosity enhanced by mystery and by pro- naparte, and of Lacretelle, the histo, hibitions, those publications which rian of the Revolution, who had served are interdicted in her own.
his apprenticeship to the same trade, Much hope was conceived, how. under the same imperial master. The ever, of the future affairs of France, Abbé Salgues, one of the editors of from the open and manly manner in the Journal de Paris, whose pen had which the debate was carried on; and circled as regularly around the politi. this was augmented by a circum- cal compass as if it had been plucked stance which seemed to show that the from the tail of the revolutionary opposition members who voted against weather-cock, was also named a cen. the law had done so not on factious, sor, and afterwards showed how well but on national motives, and really he deserved the office, by the furious wished to secure the freedom of the articles against the Bourbons, which press, but not to encourage its licence. he published in his journal immediFerru, Chamerot, Dentu, Roux, and ately on the return of Buonaparte. other booksellers, had been active in The law for restraining the freedispersing a pamphlet, entitled, an dom of the press had been carried “Extract from the Moniteur," re- through with such difficulty, that the flecting upon the person of the king, disaffected were rather encouraged the printer of which had conceals than checked by it, and resorted to ed his name, and they had been com- all expedients to elude it, with a cer. mitted to prison as dispersers of a tainty that in doing so they would libel. Encouraged, it may be, by have the public on their side: Mon
sieur Lecompte and his associate edit. in consequence, as the petition stated,
pressions to be expunged as calumThey were incautious enough to nious, and the affair of precadence touch upon another point, on which and of the riot was referred to the tl e naiion was sensit.vely jealous. proper courts. But in the course of This regarded the claims and property the debate, it was manifest that many of the emigrants. An ordonnance of of the members of the Chamber held the king, mare soon after his assuming the same suspicions with the Maire the throne, had restored to these vic. of Durnac, or at least endeavoured to tims of loyalty of every description instil them into others. Monsieur their rank as French subjects. i heir Dumoulard, a leading member of the wealth, their privileges, iheir import- opposition, treated this brawl as a ance, he could not restore, nor had matter of great gravity. “ It was not,” he the means of checking their natu- he admitted, “ the business of the asral aspirations after the influence and sembly to enter into little communal honours from which they had fallen. disputes; but at the same time, the The temper of the Chamber of De government could not remain indiffe, puties towards them may be judged rent to a fact of this kind. It could from the following minute incident. A not be disse mbled that there existed
prition was presented from a kind of dark and secret system, Nov 20 ine Muire of Durnac, in the which tended to sow the seeds of disa 1814. department of the Upper cord and anarchy among the citizens,
Vienne, on the subject of a and to resuscita e pretensions incomsca, dalous affair which occurred in his patible with the laws. It was importcon.munal church on All-Saint’s Day, ant to impress every class of French,
men with the great idea, that there not at the period speak their opiwas no safety for France, for the king, nions, rested their reasons in point of for every member or society, but in right on the validity of the decrees the maint: nance of those principles against the Bourbons and their adheon which were founded the laws pro- rents. The admitted claims of this tecting the whole."
class of emigrants led naturally to the This speech plainly intimated the consideration of their less fortunate sense entertained of those who called companions, whose property had not themselves Constitutionalists, (whose only been seized by the state, but dis. opinions, variously modified, pervaded posed of to third parties, to whom it the greater part of France) of dan- was guaranteed by the charter. ACger to the constitution from the claims cordingly, their cause was pleaded by of the emigrants; and ought, therefore, Monsieur Astorg, who openly declared to have put government upon their his opinion, that those emigrants whose guard, and to have induced them ei- property was alienated beyond the ther to postpone all discussions upon possibility of restoration, were as well that delicate subject, or at once to take entitled to the consideration of the such determined measures as might si- Chamber as those whose property was lence at least, if it did not satisty, all yet available. If their property had the parties concerned, and put the been sold, the state was in possession question at rest for ever. They seem, of the prices at which it had been on the contrary, to have adopted á bought, and was effectually benefitted sort of compromising and vacillating to this extent; and they were, by the policy, divided between their desire same rule which entitled their compato do justice to the plundered royal- nions to claim their unsold possessions, ists, whose case was truly severe, and creditors to the state for the value it their fear to innovate upon that are
had received for their lands. ticle of the charter which sanctioned could not be dissembled,” he obserthe sale of national domains.
ved, “ that by the abolition of the laws lo acknowledging the Bourbons' ti on emigration the emigrants resumed tle to the throne, it was impossible in the rights natural and conmon to all principle to deny that their faithful Frenchmen. On the same principles adherents, who had sustained exile of justice which decide in their tavour and forfeiture merely for asserting the restoration of their unsold prothat title, had been unjustly plunder. perty, they ought to be considered as ed and proscribed. Those emigrants, creditors of the state in respect of the therefore, whose estates still cootinued sums which it has derived from the in the possession of the nation, were, sale of their property. If the state apin common justice, entitled to have plied these sums to its assistance in them restored. A plan for this pur. critical times, it was not the less their pose was proposed to the Chamber of debtor. If financial difficulties preDeputies, by Monsieur Ferrand, and scribed the terrible resource of reduexcited much attention. The plead- cing the national deht by two-thirds, ing in favour of the emigrants' right still one-third remained to the nato their own estates seemed unanswer.' tional creditors. If some such plan as able, while that of Louis XVIII, to that which he had proposed were not the throne of France remained un, adopted, would not the emigrants have questioned. And, uodoubtedly, chose more reason to complain than all the wbo were inįmical to the claims of other creditors of the public?" the emigrants, although they dared This proposal called up Monsieur
Durbach's warm disapprobation, who a right to property which always exist-
the law An attempt was made by Marshal as unconstitutional; not that he dispro- Macdonald, in the House of Peers, to ved of what it proposed to do for the effectuate such an arrangement as emigrants, for he waseven desirous that should satisfy the emigrants at the exthe relief should be extended to all pense of the state : while, by putting emigrants alike; but he wished this to a final end to their claims, it should be done with due regard to the pre- give to the proprietors of national dosent holders of emigrant property. mains all the security they could de“ All France,” continued he, * has sire. The acknowledged talents and discovered in the fatal doctrine of M. high character of this distinguished Ferrand a desire to open a door on general had great weight with the nathe vast field of national domains.". tion at large. . He himself was de(Here some murmurs were heard.) scended of a family of emigrants, since
Already,” continued the orator, his father (a Macdonald of the ancient “ the two extremities of the kingdom branch called Mac-Eachan, or the sons have resounded with the words of the of Hector *), had attended Charles minister, as with the claps which pre- Edward in all his romantic adventures, cede the thunder-bolt. The effect and, returning with him into France, which they have produced has been was made an officer in the Irish briso rapid and so general, that all civil gade, in which his son had a commistransactions have been at once sus- sion before the Revolution. The mar. pended. A general distrust and ex. shal's skill as a soldier was attested by cessive fear have caused a stagnation, the campaign in Italy, in which he had the effects of which even the royal to cope with the superior forces of treasury has felt. The proprietors of Suwarrow and of Melas. He was the national property no longer sell or friend of Moreau, and was long dismortgage their estates. They are sud- countenanced by Buonaparte, who, denly reduced to poverty in the very though in the wane of his fortunes bosom of wealth. Whence arises this he was compelled to make use of his calamity? The cause of it is the de- talents, neither liked his military fame claration of the minister, that the pro- nor his love of liberty. perty they possess does not legally be- It was the object of this dietinguishlong to them.” For this is, in fact, ed and estimable character to combine the consequence of his assertion, that the restoration of the unsold property “the law recognises in the emigrants of emigrants with a plan of general in
* The MacEachans sprung from the stem of the Lords of the Isles. It may not be indifferent to the Scottish reader to learn, that the Macdonald, or MacEachan,-for, according to the custom of the lighlands he bore either name,— father to the marshal, was one of the eight gentlemen who landed with Charles Edward in Moidart in the month of August, 1745. As he spoke Gaelic, English, French, and Latin, he was highly useful to the Prince as an interpreter. He had been educated for the Roman Catholic church, but preferred the military line.