Abbildungen der Seite


THE Censorship would not allow this Pamphlet to be announced in the journals, although its title contains nothing seditious. Is there any thing in it against the King or the Law? Does the title even state whether the author is for or against the Censorship? What instinct in the Censors! What wonderful sagacity! But that is not all: my name is printed in the title-page of the Pamphlet. Is it possible to believe that we have come to this, under the ministry of Messrs. Corbière and De Villèle ?


THE public has bought up the first Edition of this Pamphlet in less time than it took me to write it, notwithstanding the Censors would not suffer it to be advertised, and the post refused to transmit copies to the Departments. This, although it proves nothing as to the merit of the work, still serves to show how much the public opinion is in favor of the tribunals, with what ardor it supports the public liberties, and condemns the system of Ministers.

I have scarcely had time to correct some inaccuracies of style, which had slipt in to what I might term a written improvisation. I have added but little to the text: but I am desirous of recording a new fact concerning the present Censors.

The Censors, it appears, had mutilated an article in the Journal des Débats, relating to the Duke of Orleans: it has treated the Constitutionnel, which had thought fit to speak of the Duke of Angouleme, still more rigorously. The thing appeared to me so improbable, that I was desirous of seeing the suppressed article, supposing that there was at least a shadow of pretext for this censorial temerity. But let the reader judge; the article is as follows:

"We feel a real pleasure in publishing the following notice,

which is addressed to us from the Cabinet of H. R. H. the Duke of Angouleme :

"The Members of the Royal Society for Prison Discipline are "requested to attend a meeting of the Society on Thursday the "19th inst., at one o'clock: His Royal Highness to preside, and "the meeting to be held at the House of Monseigneur."

"May all the abuses which are unfortunately so interwoven with the system of prison discipline, and which give so much pain to the true friends of humanity and religion, be made known to the Prince! May the Administration, attentive to his voice, reform practices afflicting to every feeling mind! May it purify the infectious abode, where so many various victims are so unhappily confounded! What we particularly desire is, that the interesting work just published by M. Appert may be submitted to the Prince, and that nothing be concealed from him, that could tend to throw light on an object so worthy of his beneficence and humanity."

Here is no question as to the doctrines of the Constitutionnel, which, in many instances, are not its own: this Paper, moreover, is not so sparing towards me as to admit the suspicion that I can entertain any great partiality for it: but the question is one of reason, of good faith, of equity, of principles. Is there any thing in the article above cited to provoke the wrath of the Censors (rogneurs de phrases)? We shall, then, no longer be permitted to speak of humanity or religion, for this word is to be found in the article; and thus the name of a Prince, the restorer of our army—

name that Europe respects, and that France has inscribed amongst the splendid feats of her glory-is blotted out by some obscure Censors in a police-office! It is true that the Prince, although a Christian, is suspected of being attached to the Charter. It is true that all parties in Spain have found a shelter beneath his sword; that he has inculcated concord in the midst of divisionsthat he has checked the aberrations of liberty, as well as the whims of arbitrary power-that he is opposed to re-actions and vengeance-that he has not suffered proscriptions to dishonor his arms-nor that the piles of the Inquisition should be the altars raised to his victories.

August 20th, 1824.



IN the Chamber of Peers, on the 13th March 1823, in replying to a previous speaker, I said: "A noble Baron has anticipated as the result of the Expedition to Spain, that France will be invaded, and all our liberties destroyed. As to the invasion of France, and the loss of our liberties, one thing at least will console me-that these events will never take place whilst I and my colleagues are ministers. The noble Baron, who possesses both distinguished talent, and generous sentiments, will pardon this assertion, proceeding from the conscientious conviction of a true Frenchman."

These words, and the establishment of the Censorship, sufficiently explain why I am no longer a minister, and the cause of the treatment I have experienced from my colleagues. I had brought them to my sentiments, but these they have now abandoned. It was therefore high time they separated themselves from me, when they meditated the suspension of the most important of our liberties.

But let us leave the consideration of persons, and speak only of France.

I need not repeat what I have said a hundred times in the tribune, and what I have printed a hundred times in my works; that there can be no such thing as a representative government without the liberty of the press.

Under the Censorship of the Journals, the Constitutional Monarchy will become either more weak or more violent than absolute monarchy: it is either a powerless, or an unruly machine, which is subject to interruption from the complexity of its wheels, or breaks by the force of its motion. I shall say nothing of that

trading in falsehood under a press that is shackled, however profitable to certain individuals, nor of the various species of turpitude which are the inevitable consequence of the Censorship.

Why should I dilate on these things? We have to do with principles. Then away with these fooleries. It is sufficiently known that large sums have been expended to secure the opinion of the Journals: violence then, it should seem, must complete what corruption had begun. Thus obstinacy is mistaken for firmness of character, the irritation of self-love for greatness of mind, without considering that the weakest man may, in a frenzy fit, set fire to his house. But is this state of madness a proof of strength?

The 4th article in the law of the 17th March 1822 runs thus: "If in the interval of the sessions of the Chambers serious circumstances (des circonstances graves) should render ineffectual for the moment the measures of guarantee and repression established, the laws of the 13th March 1820, and 26th July 1821, may be again immediately put in force, by virtue of an Ordonnance of the King debated in Council, and countersigned by three Ministers."

I ask, if the case provided for by the law has actually occurred? Are foreign armies at our gates? Is there any conspiracy in the interior? Is the public treasure in jeopardy? Has Heaven let loose on France any of its scourges? Is the throne menaced? Has one of our beloved Princes fallen under the dagger of another Louvel? No, happily not.

What, then, has happened? Why, that the Ministry have committed some faults; that they have lost their majority in the Chamber of Peers; that they have been brought before the tribunals for compromising themselves in shameful negociations with the view of purchasing opinions; that they have destroyed for the most part the advantageous results of the expedition to Spain; that they have separated themselves from the Royalists; in short, that they are incapable, and are plainly told so. These are the serious circumstances that compel them to violate institutions which we owe to the wisdom of the King! If the circumstances are serious, they have made them so; and it is against themselves they have established the Censorship.

The expedition to Spain has been commenced, carried on, and completed under the existence of a free press: although a piece of false intelligence might have put to hazard the existence of the Duke of Angouleme and the safety of his army-might have occasioned a fall in the public funds-might have excited disturbances in some of the Departments, or incurred the displeasure of the Powers of Europe. These circumstances were not sufficiently serious to induce the suppression of the liberty of the periodical press. But the truth has been told to Ministers, and Frenchmen,

[ocr errors]

naturally disposed to ridicule, sometimes permit themselves to laugh at these Ministers. Instantly the Censorship,-or France, is ruined!-How truly contemptible!

To crown the deed-nothing was wanting, but the reason that has been alleged for the establishment of the Censorship. Recourse might have been had to common-place remarks against the liberty of the press. They might have talked of its excesses, of its dangers, whilst they affected to confound it with licentiousness. It might have been said that the actually existing laws of restriction were inadequate-though we know them to be extremely harshthough they have in fact compelled all the Journals to confine themselves within moderate bounds. No, the grievance does not lie here it is not of the journals they complain, but the tribunals! The Censorship is deemed necessary, because upright and worthy magistrates have defended the liberty of the press, because they have decided conformably to the integrity of their conscience and the independence of their character, because they admitted the journals to an existence de jure, independently of their existence de facto. And the matter of right appears ill suited to the legitimate monarchy, since the late revolution, and the transactions of the hundred days! That a minister of justice should venture to blame by his signature the sentence of a tribunal; and thus indirectly impugn the decision of that tribunal! What an example is here held forth to nations! That these ministers should dare publicly to accuse the two first courts of the kingdom, (the Court of Cassation, and the Cour Royale,) as well as the tribunal de Première Instance!-for these three tribunals have all decided in the same cause. Thus is the whole judicial community attacked from its head to its base: even the public ministry belonging to the Court of Cassation has coincided in opinion with the judgment of that Court.

Were all the Ministers present at the Council, when this dangerous resolution was adopted? If one of them was absent, as is reported, he must doubtless regret to have been deprived of the honor of withdrawing himself.


Perhaps you will say the Courts of Justice have been mistaken! But who has proved this? Are you more wise, better informed, than they? But was there any thing like an equal division of voices among the magistrates in those Courts? I know not. theless, it is asserted that the Court of Cassation, whose abilities are so well known, came to an almost unanimous decision in the affair of the Aristarque.

But the re-appearance of this journal, it seems, was likely to lead to the revival of several others. And why not, if they really have the right of re-appearing? Why should not the law, and justice, be administered impartially to all? Even the facts are not

« ZurückWeiter »