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penetrating, and cautious, he could devote liberty which they regarded as their un.
. Buonaparte had extensively cúr. naparte in the time of the greatest need. tailed the power of the clergy, degraded Waving the consideration of these two their rank, and reduced their emoluments. circumstances, it could not be doubted that His system of discouragement united to the his abilities and experience would enable strong and general passion for military rank him essentially to contribute to heal the and glory, and with the indifference to rewounds inflicted by the revolution and by ligion produced by the revolution, powerthe despotism of Napolean, while, as far as fully operated in diminishing the influence the honour and external relations of the of the priesthood over the people of France. country were involved, he would contribute. Louis, from his natural dispositionand habits, to raise them as nearly as possible to the level must have been strongly urged to replace of its former rank and glory.
the clergy as nearly as possible in the same But the disposition and feelings of the scale of rank and wealth which they held bebulk of the French people formed the chief fore the revolution, a measure which would support on which Louis could depend for secure in his favour a most powerful body. the permanence of his government. The ca- Many obstacles were opposed to his procepital of France no longer retained its ancient. dure. A great part of the property of the influence over the inhabitants of the pro- Church was sold, and could not be restored, vinces, and the revolution dividing the and the very intimation that such an object estates of the noblesse into possessions of a was in view would create the greatest alarm much more moderate size, and thus increasing in the breasts of all who had purchased conthe number of those who were desirous of fiscated property. The revenues of the peace, and placing the agricultural tenantry Clergy before the revolution, were in part of the kingdom on a more respectable and derived from tithes. To endeavour to reindependant footing, rendered the inhabi- impose them would be the signal of univertants of the country of much more weight sal discontent, and might possibly be foland importance. Over these also the revo lowed by the re-establishment of feudal lution had shed much less of its baneful oppression. It seemed impossible to restore effects, than over the inhabitants of Paris and the clergy to their possessions; yet Louis other large cities: their manners were less by his demeanour evinced his anxiety for frivolous, their morals less corrupt, their their political ascendancy and their pecuunderstandings and feelings virtuous and niary interest. By his evident attachment intelligent. On this class of people, therefore, to the sacred order he certainly gave offence
ouis might safely rely for support, provided to the Parisians, and his proclamations for he secured to them their possessions, and that the celebration of mass in remembrance of portion of respectability, independence, and Louis the XVI. and for the strict obser
vance or the sabbath, if they offended the “ Gentlemen, the king charges me to preprofane and licentious rabble of the Boule- sent to you the plan of a law relative to the vards, gratified the devout and virtuous in- press, in fulfilment of the 8th article of the habitants of the provinces, and contributed constitutional charter. The press has renby extending the influence of the clergy to dered such great services to society, it is the support and stability of the throne. become of such necessity among civilised
Considerable gloom and apprehension were nations, that it ought not to be subjected to excited in Paris by the refusal of Louis to rigorous restrictions. The king, gentlemen, receive the constitution exactly as it had been is not less interested than his subjects in framed and accepted in his name, by his seeing the revival of these services : it is brother the Count d'Artois. On reflection, his interest to hear the truth, as it is yours however, these feelings subsided; for Louis, to tell it to him : but it is truth friendly to though certainly unwilling to grant the ex- order, which wisdom always inspires, which tent of liberty demanded, and assuming the calms instead of irritating the passions, and title of king by divine permission, was which teaches the people equally to dread evidently disposed to sanction a degree of oppression and licentiousness. public freedom, unknown before or since the * The question is simple in itself. The revolution.
object is so to consecrate the liberty of the About the middle of August a body of press, as to render it useful and durable. resolutions was framed under various titles, That liberty, so often proclaimed in France by which the intercourse between the king during the first years of the revolution, beand the two legislative chambers was to be came its own greatest enemy. The slave carried on. These regulations comprised the of popular opinion, which it had not time form of the constitution, describing the pro- to form, it lent to licentiousness all its force, cess of legislation, and apportioningits powers. and could never supply reason with sufficient
The most remarkable part of this body of means of defence. The causes of this existed regulations is contained in title 4th; from in the effervescence of the popular passions, which it appears that if the king refuses to in the nation being little accustomed to pubaccede to any request of the chambers, and lic affairs, in the facility with which a people disapproves of any law presented for his were deceived and deluded, still incapable sanction, he must say, Le rdi veut en deliber- of judging of the writings addressed to them, er.-The king wishes to deliberate on the and of foreseeing their consequences. subject. But if he refuses his final appro "“ Have these causes now disappeared? Can bation to a law which has passed the cham we flatter ourselves that they will not again bers, he is pledged to use the precise form of come into action? We fear that we cannot: words prescribed by the British constitution. the mute servitude which succeeded the What follows under titles 5, 6, and 7, relates turbulence of the first years of the revolution to matters of form merely, with the excep- has not better trained us for liberty: the tion of the two following articles : That the passions which could not display themselves chambers can never form a junction; nor during that interval would now burst forth put forth addresses to the people.
fortified by new passions.-What should we The first discussion of importance respec- oppose to their explosion ? Almost as much ted the liberty of the press, which had been inexperience, and more of weakness. Reastipulated for in the 8th article of the con sonable men, disgusted with the long inustitutional charter. On the 6th of July the tility of their efforts, would keep in the back abbé de Montesquiou and the count de ground, rather than expose themselves in a Blacas were introduced into the chamber of contest of which they had so often been the deputies, being ordered by the king to pre- victims; interests the most opposite, and sent a law on the liberty of the press : this sentiments the most exaggerated, would was prefaced by an explanatory speech from again come into mutual combat, with all the former, of which the following is the that additional violence which would be lent outline:
by the bitterness of recollections; the people
still unenlightened as to their interests, still straint: let us not complain of this; let us not unconfirmed in their sentiments, would fol- envy a neighbouring nation the enjoyment low blindly the impulse which might be of advantages of another kind. Ours have given them; and whichever might be the procured us enough of happiness and glory, victorious party, it would soon take exclu- wherewithal to be content: to them we owe sive possession of the press, to turn it against that elegance of taste, that delicacy of manits adversaries,
ners, which is shocked by the least neglect " Such is the nature of that liberty, which of decorum, and which does not permit us must have been enjoyed in order to know how to violate it, without falling at once into the to use it: give it all the extent necessary to most unbridled licentiousness. the nation's learning how to benefit by it; “ The king proposes to you nothing that but oppose to it some bounds, that it may does not appear to him absolutely necessary be saved from its own excesses,"
to the safety of the national institutions, and With regard to the principal provision to the march of government: assist him with of the law M. de Montesquiou spoke thus : your information and your influence; unite
" It has been long perceived and acknown with him for the interests of liberty as for ledged, that writings of small bulk, which it is those of peace; and you will soon see that easy to circulate with profusion, and which liberty unfold itself without storms, amidst are read with avidity, may iminediately dis- the order which you shall have concurred in turb the public tranquillity: repressive laws maintaining.” are sufficient against the effects for which the The projet of the law proposed by the author, perhaps, can only be punished when king was divided into two parts: the first the mischief has already become too great, respected the publication of works; the not merely to be repaired, but even arrested second, the superintendance of the press; acin its progress. Writings of this sort are, cording to the first, every work of above therefore, the only ones against which the thirty sheets might be published freely, law takes precautions beforehand. Every without previous examination or revision. work of ordinary size may be published The same liberty was to be given to all freely; the king and the nation will have writings in the dead, or in foreign lannothing to fear from them; and if the author guages ;-prayer_books, catechisins, &c.; commit any offence, the tribunals will be in law reports, if they were sanctioned by the readiness to punish him.”
names of professional persons; and works of After explaining the other parts of the literary or scientific societies established by law, the abbé concluded thus :
the king, whatever was the number of the “If we lived at a period when reason, long sheets which they contained.—The liberty trained and tried, had a stronger sway than which was apparently given in this part of that of the passions; when national interest, the projet, was however in a great measure clearly understood and strongly felt, had withdrawn by the proposal that the directorattached to its cause the majority of private general of the press might ordain, according interests; when public order, strongly conso- to circumstances, that all writings of thirty lidated, no longer feared the attacks of impru- sheets or under should be communicated to dence or folly, then the unlimited liberty of him before being printed. The appointment the press would be unattended with danger, of censors was to be vested in the king; and and would even present advantages: but our the director-general was to cause every work situation is not so happy; our character even to be examined by one or more censors; and as well as our situation, forbids the establish- if two at least of these conceived the writing ment of an indefinite liberty. Nature has to be defamatory. or dangerous, or immoral, distributed her gifts among nations, as among the director-general might forbid the printindividuals; the diversity of the institutions ing: he was however to be obliged to cow=; has fortified these primitive differences: we municate all the works, or parts of works, have received for our share a vivacity, a suppressed by him, to a committee of both mobility of imagination, which require re- houses, consisting of three peers and three
deputies, with three commissioners appoint. be destroyed, and the proprietors subject to a
independence of character and mind of the
and the license place, it must be better, as well as safer, to might be withdrawn on violation of the laws trust to the opinion of a jury of our country. or regulations. All the printing establish men (obscure as the law of libel is) than to ments not properly notified and permitted the opinion of censors: secondly, the most: by the director-general of the press were to despotic or timid government will be disa be deemed clandestine, and as such were to posed to suffer many publications to go on,
lan fc; the
by the rty of
after they are once given to the world, which ing life annuities to those of the emigrants
important and interesting information re-
to the business of destruction. of the emigrants.
It is necessary, therefore, that the nation The law for restoring the unsold estates should be informed of the extent and the cause of the emigrants passed the chamber of de- of its misfortunes, in order to be able to set a puties by a large majority. It was then car due value upon, and to second the cares ried up
to the chamber of peers, where it which are to soothe and retrieve them. Thus passed by a majority of 100 to 3. The Duke enlightened upon the extent and nature of of Tarentum pronounced on this occasion a the mischief, it will in future be required discourse which had a great effect. At the only to participate in the labours and exerclose of his speech he announced his inten tions of the king, to re-establish what has tion of proposing, on an early day, a projet been destroy not by him, to heal wounds of a law to be submitted to the king, grant not inflicted by him, and to repair wrongs to