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hostile to the reigning dynasty, which however, to which the proposition was had been presented during the whole referred, recommended that the vote course of the revolution, might come should be limited to four-twelfths. to be considered as political Helots. This measure was supported by M. de
Baron Pasquier, replying to Benja. la Bourdonnage, in a speech remark. min Constant, urged, that the step able by the views it gave of the politi. which the King, moved by his natural cal state of France. According to bim, sentiments of clemency, and by high anarchy was “ advancing with rapid political considerations, had once taken, steps, ready to devour us. Displacing was one which could be taken by him power, it undermines every day our alone. The benefit could not be turn- rising institutions, places without the ed against the benefactor. M. Cor- Chambers the influence which ought bieres opposed M. Manuel upon the to be exercised by them ; opposes to principle itself. The constitutional their deliberations the expression of a question, which the opposite side were factitious, often factious, and always attempting to stifte, was, whether a re- insolent opinion.” France was affected gicide could sit in the French Cham- with a political gangrene, which threat. ber of Deputies. If he was admissible ened to swallow up the whole social there, he was admissible also into all body. These evils he attributed in a high functions of state ; he would re- great degree to the fluctuating and inturo into our armies, drawing in his decisive measures of ministry, and train the revolution, and all our cala. could, therefore, by no means agree to mities. It was said that all opinions repose in them that confidence, and ought to be represented ; but the ques. place that power in their hands, which tion here was, not about opinions, but would be done by the present vote. crimes; crime now, for the first time, M. Decazes, in reply, maintained, that sought to be represented.
the ministers had not attached themScarcely had M. Corbieres finished selves to any party, but that their syshis speech, when M. Ravez proposed tem was supported by a majority, both the vote. A tumultuary assent was in the Chamber and the nation. He given by the great bulk of the assem- wholly denied the allegations which bly, which rose up and pronounced the their enemies were circulating, that sentence of non-admission ; after which they meant to carry their point by any the sitting was terminated amid cries violent and unconstitutional means. of Vive le Roi. This sudden and irre- Ministers finally carried the vote by a gular close was unsatisfactory, not on majority of 137 to 39. ly to oumerous members who had wish The Chambers now approached that ed to speak, but to the zealous of both high debateable ground, the theatre of. parties, who, agreeing in the propriety those conflicts by which the session of exclusion, wished each to have it was to be so terribly agitated. We pronounced according to his own pe have already noticed the alarms excited culiar principles.
through France by the understood pur. The Chamber being constituted, the pose of altering that part of the charfirst conflict of parties was occasioned ter which relates to the law of elecby the proposition of the minister of tions. Any symptoms of royalist enfinance, that government should be al croachment excited through France lowed provisionally to draw the first the dread of more than the mere loss six-twelfths of the taxes on landed and of political rights. It raised throughpersonal property. The committee, out the whole body of landed proprie.
VOL. XIII, PART I.
tors a fear which had been always con. vices of every kind. The versatility nected with the Bourbon dynasty, the was not in public opinion, which had fear of the resumption of emigrant pro. always declared itself in favour of the perty, sold or confiscated at the com- charter and the law of elections ; it mencement of the revolution. Nume- would be elsewhere, if the Chamber rous petitions against the projected in- should adopt the advice of the comnovation were, therefore, poured in mittee. As to the agitation felt in the even from the most remote villages. departments, the orator ascribed it By the 8th January the commission solely to the projected change, and to had received 139, containing about the fears thence entertained as to the 19,000 signatures. The committee stability of the political contract which thereupon made a report to the Cham- united the prince to the nation. bers, unfavourable to the reception of M. Pasquier, in reply, insisted that these petitions. None of them, it was the petitions, as they were presented, observed, had been signed by any of had a direct tendency to exercise an the local authorities ; on the contrary, illegal influence on the legislative autho. several public functionaries described rity. Nothing could be more groundthem as obtained by individuals going less than the alarm which had been through the villages, announcing the spread for the maintenance of the charreturn of tithes and the feudal system. ter, and of the sales of national proMany of these petitions had been evin perty. The words “ touch the char. dently signed without being read, and ter," were used in an occult, mysterimany contained expressions offensive ous sense, calculated to blind the weak to the Chamber. As they did not so- and ill-informed. The petitions had licit the reparation of any act of in- been all formed on one model; they justice, they could only be considered had been hawked about from village as unconstitutional attempts to fetter to village, from shop to shop, precethe proceedings of the representative ded by the report of the re-establishgovernment.
ment of tithes and of feudal rights. The reading of this report caused However much he might applaud the an extraordinary tumult. M. Dupont, zeal of those who communicated to the having first obtained liberty to speak, Chambers useful information, he could censured it with the utmost vehemence. never allow that all the citizens, of He could not but admire the heroic every profession and every age, some courage of the committee, in thus pro. Bcarcely beyond infancy, students, solposing to repel, by a single vote, the diers, should be able, by a petition, to wish of nineteen thousand citizens, oblige the Chambers to deliberate on who demanded, in the name of public any subject which might have attract: peace, the maintenance of the constitu- ed their attention. The number of tional compact, which the deputies those who sought this presumptuous were bound to defend by their honour initiative could not be compared tothat and their oath. Last year petitions had of the citizens who waited in a just and been sent in by hundreds in favour of respectful confidence for the result of the law of elections ; they had been the legislative discussions. Messrs kindly welcomed, and no danger had Castel Bajac and Barthe la Bastide been apprehended; but now that the supported the rejection still more warmpolicy, that is, the interest of the mi- ly, representing that the petitioners nistry, made them wish to change were not one to every commune ; that this law, these petitions, so innocent France wished an election-law which last year, were found to be infected with should not introduce into the Chamber a living representation of the crimes of law of election. Yet this critical and the revolution. They described the pe- eagerly expected measure was delayed titions as unconstitutional, factious, from day to day, and serious differentending to supplant the initiative of ces of opinion were understood to prethe King by the initiative of the mul. vail among ministers on the subject. titude. De Corcelles, General Foy, , The classification of the electoral body, and Benjamin Constant, argued, that the influence to be allowed to properthe petitions should be at least depo- ty, the integral renewal of the Chamsited in the Office of Inquiry ; but, bers, and the diminution of the freafter two days of stormy debate, their quency of election, were all questions entire rejection was carried by a majo. on the details of which varying opi. rity of 117 against 112.
nions were held. Amid the debates In the Chamber of Peers, M. de and delays arising out of this state of Seze laid down still more rigorous lie things, an event of the most terrible mitations on the right of petition. , It and unexpected description arrested could be admitted, he thought, only all men's attention, and shook to its in matters connected with private in. basis the whole political system of the terest, and the redress of individual French monarchy. grievances, but could not be allowed The Duke de Berri was the youngin the case of a legislative proceeding. est of the two sons of the Count d'ArThe petitioners had no information tois (now Monsieur); but as he had qualifying them to discuss points so lately married a Sicilian princess, the important; and, indeed, every species hope of issue which was wanting in of collective petition might be branded the Angouleme family, made him be as a form of sedition. Although the regarded as the only channel by which measure was opposed by Counts Daru, the race of Bourbon could be perpeLanjuinais, and Segur, as tending to tuated. This circumstance proved faoverthrow entirely the right of peti- tal to him. On the evening of the 13th tion, it was carried by the great majo- February, after having been present rity of 109 to 48.
at the opera along with his duchess, a This check did not slacken the zeal weapon resembling a rude poniard was of the petitioning bodies, who conti- struck into his breast. At the first nued to pour in addresses, till they moment the shock appeared to himself amounted to five hundred and more, and his attendants to have arisen from covered with from fifty to sixty thou. an indiscreet push of one of the bysand signatures. On the 9th March, standers ; but soon discovering how M. Dupont made an attempt to obtain the case stood, he called out, “ I am their reception, but his motion was assassinated.” On drawing out the negatived without any discussion. weapon, the duchess was covered with
The next measure proposed was one the blood which burst from the wound. tending to fix the right of those who He was carried into a neighbouring had formerly made purchases of the saloon ; and the first medical men in national domains. It was acceptable Paris being hastily called, soon recogto all parties, the liberals only wishing nized that the wound was of the most to introduce alterations in some parti- dangerous nature. Accordingly, every cular clauses.
assistance proving vain, he expired the This law was generally understood following morning at half past six. to be only a douceur, intended to The assassin, immediately on comsmooth the way to the main object of mitting this horrible deed, took to the session—the introduction of the flight; but being closely pursued by
several of the Prince's attendants, and kind of defence, by representing him his route happening to be blocked by as affected by that species of madness a carriage, he was speedily taken. He which consists in the mind dwelling conwas found to be a person of the name tinually upon a singleidea. Heurged also of Louvel, holding a menial employthe wish for his pardon which had been ment in the King's stables. On being expressed by the dying Prince. Louvel, interrogated, he declared that he had when called for his own defence, made no accomplices, nor any who knew of a speech which was considered a repe. the deed ; that he had meditated it in cition of the crime, and which was, his own breast for four years. He had therefore, never allowed to be publish. acted solely from public motives. ed. He openly justified the action of Considering the Bourbons as the most which he had been guilty, and, on the cruel enemies of France, he sought to same principle, the death of Louis exterminate them, and had begun with XVI; he compared himself to Brutus, the youngest, and the one who appear. and to the most illustrious of those ed most likely to continue the race. who had died in the cause of liberty. If he had escaped on this occasion, he Being condemned to death, he was meant to have successively assassin. executed on the 7th of June. Animated the other Princes, and the King mense crowd attended; but, though himself. Being afterwards brought to Paris was then much disturbed from the Louvre, and the dead body of his other causes, no attempt at tumult victim exhibited to him, he did not took place, and the event passed in the testify the slightest emotion. Several most profound silence. were arrested in consequence of suspi- An event of so deep and appalling cions inspired either by their known a character could not fail to redouble political sentiments, or by expressions the violence of those political contenof exultation reported to have been tions, with which France was already used on hearing of the event ; but no 80 strongly agitated. The immediate proof could be established against effect of the feelings excited, was deci. them; nor was there found in Louvel's dedly in favour of the royalist party. apartment, or among his effects, any No proof had indeed appeared of this thing which could implicate in the crime being the result of any combinaslightest degree any other individual. tion, or even of its having been prompt. Three months spent in preparing for ed by any writings or discourses of the his trial were equally unproductive of opponents of government. But, amid any discovery. On being placed be- the emotions inspired by such a catas. fore the House of Peers he displayed trophe, nice distinctions or inquiries a calm and gloomy physiognomy, and were not likely to be made ; every repeated the confessions formerly made. thing was swallowed up in the general He disavowed, in the strongest man- impression. Besides, though such a ner, all sense of injury, or hostile feel. combination of crime and madness could ing of a personal nature, towards the only originate in a peculiar and fanaDuke, or any of the Bourbons; he tical atrocity of individual character, had assailed them only as the enemies yet this might, in consequence of a vio. of his country. He protested as 80- lent fermentation in the public mind, lemnly as ever, the total absence of all have been raised to such an extreme accomplices; and added, that he was and preternatural pitch. Feelings, not in the habit of reading either jour. which might otherwise have fermentnals or pamphlets. His advocate, M. ed in gloomy silence, might thus Bonnet, endeavoured to make some have been roused to desperate action. Under these views, ministers consider. thorities, threatened anew the civilized ed themselves justified in bringing for world with general destruction. ward restraints upon the liberty, both General Foy, in expressing the opi. of action and writing, such as are sup- nion of the liberal part of the Assemposed to be rendered necessary in tur. bly, argued that the address should be bulent and dangerous times.
entirely devoted to the expression of A violent effervescense appeared at the grief which absorbed every heart. the meeting of the Chamber of Depu. Of all Frenchmen, none regretted the ties on the 14th. The first proceed. Prince so much as the friends of libering was marked by an almost frantic ty, because they knew that its enemies burst of personal animosity. Clausel would avail themselves of this dreadful de Coussergues, mounting the tribune, event to deprive the nation of all those denounced Decazes, minister of the in rights which had been granted to it by terior, as an accomplice of the assas. the wisdom of the sovereign.-A secret sination of the Duke of Berri. Loud committee being appointed, an address cries of order! order ! resounded was drawn up, and carried unanimousthrough the assembly, and the orator ly, where the Assembly, besides the being immediately silenced, the Presi. expression of their grief, added the asdent read the letter by which the Pre- surance that they were ready to consident of the Council announced the cur. with equal energy and devotion, event which had taken place. A warm according to the order of their constidebate followed, and the sentiments of tutional duties, in the measures which the royalist party were strongly ex. the wisdom of his Majesty might judge pressed by M. de la Bourdonnaye. He necessary in such grave circumstances. could not but perceive in this deplora. A similar address was voted in the ble crime, the action of an imagination Chamber of Peers. exalted by that political fanaticism Onthe following day, the wild charge which was daily sapping the founda. against Decazes came again under contions of the throne. The object was, sideration, and a vote of censure was to raise on their ruin those new powers moved, declaring it rash and calumniwhich a delirious philanthropy had ous. The charge, however, was still sought in the sovereignty of the peo- maintained by its author; and though ple, the numerical power of the multi- it met with no belief in the Assembly, tude, and in that law of the strongest, yet a very strong animosity against the against which the social contract was minister manifested itself both on the drawn up. At the view of an issue so right and left sides. This was not didismal, it must be the first object of a minished, when Decazes appeared in political body to crush in its germ a person, to propose the new law of fanaticism which leads to such fatal re- elections, as well as two others imposults; to chain anew that revolntion- sing restraints upon individual liberty. aty spirit which can only be restrained The unpopularity of the minister apby an arm of irou ; to silence those peared now so evident, that it was condaring writers, who, emboldened by sidered impossible, at so tempestuous impunity, excite to the most odious an era, to carry on the grand objects crimes. He proposed, therefore, that which the executive had in view, withthe address should communicate the out a change of management. He redecided wish of the Chamber to sup- signed on the 18th February, under press those pernicious doctrines, which, the pretence of ill health. The King, sapping at once all thrones and all au- to express his satisfaction with his ser: