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it been adopted. He repeated plated. He severely reprobated that the powers granted by this the cheap tracts which sowed Stamp act was a perfect anomaly discontent and sedition among in the history of England, and the vulgar, and reminded the amounted to nothing less than an House that it behoved them imprimatur. His learned friend narrowly to watch an evil which was perfectly right to refer to the threatened the destruction of properiod of Charles 2nd; for he be- perty, the demoralisation of every lieved the object and aim of his class, and consequences altogemajesty's government was, if pos- ther dreadful. There was one sible, to suppress those liberties other evil which he thought might which the people had since ob- have occurred to some hon. gentained. That they would suc- tlemen, as connected with the ceed, he believed was impossi- evil they were considering. For ble ; but even in the attempt they his part, he could not help doubtwould alienate the people, and ing the prudence of carrying the thereby produce those conse. education of the lower classes to quences which were the natu. the extent which had been proral result of their wild and absurd posed. dabbling in legislation.
Mr. Abercromby argued against Mr. Bankes considered the pre- the precedents adduced by Mr. sent measures of restriction as the Bankes, and felt himself consalvation of the state, and main- strained to give his decided optained, that now, if ever, the position to the bill. press was to be restrained, when Mr. H. G. Bennet said, the bill it had grown up to so monstrous itself, though objectionable in and dangerous a degree of abuse. every point of view, did not apThose gentlemen who talked of pear to him so alarming as the a free constitution, and quoted speech of the hon. gentleman Blackstone and other elementary (Mr. Bankes). There never, he and accredited writers who had believed, had been so unconstiaffirmed the necessity of uphold- tutional a speech delivered within ing it in its present state, forgot the walls of that House since the that there was no sort of con- enactment of the arbitrary staformity between their times and tutes it described. Those severe the present. Blackstone could and arbitrary acts, which he had never have contemplated the in- collected as precedents for simicrease of that class of publica- lar measures now, if good for any tions they were now called upon to thing, would prove too much. consider. But he totally denied Adverting to the regret expressed that the press of this country had by Mr. Bankes at the progress of ever been free and unshackled. education, he said that the hon. Here the hon. gentleman went gentleman must also regret the into an historical detail of all the progress of religion and morals; measures by which, at different for, without education, the blesstimes, the press had been placed ings of religion could not be ununder still more arbitrary regu- derstood or appreciated, nor the lations than those now contem- duties of morality taught and
practised. practised. After a few other re- tution, but the blessings which marks on this subject, he pro- those forms protected; in the ceeded to the bill before the same manner as the forms of law House, which he opposed, as the were not the law, or the forms of duty would raise the price of a court of justice were not admi. knowledge to the poor, whose nistration of justice. The conimprovement was principally de. stitution was only the body of rived from small tracts. With rights and privileges which we regard to the clause inflicting pe- enjoyed under our political estanalties before publication, by de- blishments; and among these was manding securities which must be pre-eminent the freedom of speech considered as equivalent to a and writing. Gentlemen who probond of 6001. he thought it would fessed to support the constituruin entirely that useful body of tian, while they allowed the demen who supplied cheap publica- struction of its most essential adtions to the poor. It threw the vantages, might live to repent whole trade into the hands of the the day when they drew such a rich, and affected a privilege distinction, and forgetting the higher than that of trade-the substance, adhered only to the privilege of every Englishman to form. The bill was the greatest publish what he pleases, subject invasion of the constitution, as it only to a punishment for the abuse made it to depend upon a man's of the privilege to the injury of fortune whether he should have others. All the members on the the right of publishing his thoughts other side who supported this to his countrymen. and the other restrictive measures, The bill underwent farther disprofessed to do so from a desire cussion and considerable opposito preserve the constitution. But tion in the after stages of its prowhat was the constitution? It gress; but it finally passed both was not the forms of the consti- Houses, and received the royal tution that composed the consti- assent on Dec. 30th. CHAPTER X.
Proposal for changing the Election Law carried in the Chamber of
Peers.— Fifty-four new Peers created in consequence.-Election Law in the Chamber of Deputies.- Report of Commissioners on it.-Statement in the Chamber of Deputies respecting the Persecution of Protestants in the South.-- Threatened Renewal of Disturbances at Nismes.- Protestant Petition.-The Budget.-Law on the Liberty of the Press.- Society of Friends of the Liberty of the Press.-Debate on the Return of Exiles.-- State of the French Church.- Letter of the Clergy to the Pope.- Reception of the Missionaries at Brest.- Ordinance for the Building of Churches.-Report on the State of the Establishment.-King's Speech on re-opening the Chambers.
The two chambers of the tutional party. A violent debate
French legislature were sitting at ensued, in which personal rethe commencement of the year fexions were not spared : M. Bar1819, and in the month of Fe- thelemy himself, suddenly, enbruary a motion was brought for- lightened as to the tendencies of ward in that of peers which led the measure, deserted his own to an important political result. proposal and declared that he Count Barthelemy, once a mem- should vote against it. Such, ber of the noted Directory, who however, was the strength of the seems in this instance to have ultra-royalist party among the lent himself unconsciously to the peers, by whom the motion was designs of others, proposed, that supported, that the previous the chamber should take it in- question, as it may be termed, to consideration whether some was carried by a majority of 89 change might not advantageously to 49. be made in the law of elections. This was a serious blow to the The administration instantly ar- ministry ; and after the personal ranged themselves in opposition influence of the monarch had to this measure; count de Cazes been vainly exerted with the did not hesitate to declare that a chiefs of the ultras individually, more fatal proposal could not they judged it necessary to recohave issued from the chamber
ver a majority in the chamber by than that of overturning a law so an extraordinary exertion of the dear to an immense majority of prerogative. It was determined the nation ; and in this sentiment in the royal cabinet, that 54 new he was joined by the principal peers should be created, which, members of the liberal or consti- with the recall of 22 more, who
had been struck off the list by propose a law, tending to give the ordinance of July 24th, 1815, to the organization of the electowould secure a preponderance to ral colleges the modifications the measures of administration. the necessity of which may ap
Meantime a general alarm had pear indispensable. been sounded through the coun- « Your commission try; petitions against the medi- mends the rejection of this protated attack on this important ar. position, and they have charged ticle of the charter poured in me to develop to you the motives from all quarters: and a member of its decision. of the chamber of deputies “ The law of elections has moved, that for the sake of quiet. scarcely existed two years. It ing the public mind, the law was not ranked amongst our inwhich required an interval of ten stitutions until it had undergone days before any measure carried in both chambers a deep and soin the upper chamber could be lemn discussion. submitted to the lower one, “ If the proposition be taken should on this occasion be dis- literally, it must be allowed that pensed with. This unconstitu- it is reduced to a very simple tional proposition was negatived ; question. but a firm resolution was evinced “ It does not say, in effect, on the part of a great majority of that the modifications of the law the deputies, to support the elec- of elections are indispensable ; it tion law without alteration, as does not even say that modificasoon as the question should be tions appear indispensable; it regularly submitted to their de- only anticipates an event when cision. On the other hand, the modifications may appear indistriumphant majority of the house pensable, and for this latter case of peers defeated a measure of it requires a law. the ministers respecting a change “ But to whom can these moin the period at which the finan- difications appear indispensable ? cial year should hereafter com- To the king doubtless, to whom mence; and the discord of the the proposition is addressed. But two chambers was only termi- the king, invested with the ininated by the notification of the tiative, does not require to be new creations, which took place warned to make use of it when in the beginning of March. On the necessity of so doing may apthe 18th of the same month the pear to him indispensable. Is it chamber of deputies resolved it- in his duty that they would preself into a secret committee, to tend to instruct him? The mode receive the report of a commis- of doing it would be little resion appointed to take into con- spectful. Is it general advice sideration count Barthelemy's that they would give him? But motion : it was as follows:
what guarantee is there that he “ You referred to a commis- will hear it at the pleasure of sion the examination of a resolu- those who offer it? Is it, finally, tion of the chamber of peers
of on a determined subject that the following tenor :
they pretend to invoke the ini“ That the king be prayed to tiative? In this case it should be
distinctly indicated; for it ought collecting this tax. As it is paid not to be prejudged what wisdom by twelfths, and that a deterthe king would display in a pro- mined time is not required to acposition for doing that which to quire by this channel political him might appear indispensable. rights, it follows, say they, that
“ During the two years that an individual may, by once pay; the law of elections has been exe- ing 25 francs, vote in an electoral cuted, has the convocation of the assembly. colleges at the chief town of the “ Your commission demand department been attended with where, and in what electoral colinconveniences which demand lege, individuals have been reprompt remedies ? No; every ceived who have only been rething was conducted with faci- cently subject to the tax on pality, calmness and decorum. It tents, and have only acquitted appears even, that in this point of the twelfth. Nothing of this naview, as in many others, it may ture, for instance, took place in be said, in reference to France Paris, where four patents only and England - Littora littoribus were delivered in the interval becontraria. At the same moment tween the convocation and dissothat elections at the other side of hution of the electoral college. the Channel displayed scandalous And nevertheless it is from Paris, and violent scenes, our's seemed to and on the occasion of the elechave opened a new career to French tions of Paris, that the first cries urbanity, and to benevolence far. emanated against the abuses of ther resources for its exercise.
patents." “ Nevertheless, as one incon- After dwelling upon the defivenience of the assembling of the ciency of all proof of the miselectors at the chief town of the chiefs attributed to the present department, it is represented law of elections, the report states, that a third of the electors had that the commission had anxious. no share in the last elections. Jy investigated the details which
" Your committee looked in had been adduced in support of vain for proofs of this statement. its modification, and concludes Since there have been elections by regretting that men should in France, the number of voters have excited general alarm by has never been so considerable, entertaining notions of exaggerin proportion to the number of ated and unfounded evils, and electors, as at the last elections. earnestly recommend the cham
« But during two years, has ber to listen to the public voice not some contingency interfered which had been so strongly and to interrupt the harmony of energetically re-echoed from all the law ? Not one has been re- quarters of the kingdom. presented. The only complaint Finally, the motion was rejects is, that the extension, already so ed by a majority of 56 votes, out liberal, of admitting to the rights of a total of 241. of elective franchise every citizen In the course of the debate, who pays for a patent 300 francs, M. de Villele, a leader of the is become the source of the most ultras, observed, that in one deshocking abuses by the mode of partment 600 more electórs had