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which prevailed in the delay generally incurred in bring- Chap. ing prisoners to trial; and a circular issued by M. de

Serres, the Minister of Justice, deserves a place in history, 1819from the admirable spirit which it breathes on a subject hitherto unaccountably neglected by all the parties who had been successively called to the. helm of affairs. *

At the same time, nearly the whole persons banished for their accession to the conspiracy of the Hundred Days Return of received permission to return to their country. Maret, "ther Duke of Bassano, the principal author of that revolt, ob- ^j^f^" tained it, and after his return the same indulgence could Francescarcely be refused to inferior delinquents. The king never refused forgiveness to any application from any of his Ministers ; rarely to any respectable inferior application. By these means, in a few months nearly all the proscribed persons, excepting the actual regicides, had returned to their country, and these were so few in number, and for the most part so old and infirm, that their absence or, c>p ^ presence, except as an example, and indicating the triumph iS6, iosi or defeat of a principle, was almost equally an object of sau"*317' indifference.1

Notwithstanding this indulgent administration, and substantial benefits conferred on France by the Government of the Restoration, it was daily becoming more un

* " Des réclamations nombreuses ont signalé dans ces derniers temps divers abus dans l'Instruction des Procédures criminelles. Ces plaintes peuvent n'être pas exemptes d'exagération. Il parait cependant que plusieurs ne sont que trop fondées. Elles ont porté sur la facilite, la légèreté* même, avec laquelle sont faites les arrestations. 2. Sur une prolongation ou un application abusive de l'Interdiction aux prévenus de communiquer. 3. Enfin, sur la négligenco apportée dans l'Instruction des procès. Je crois donc utile de retracer sur chacun de ces points les principes, à la stricte application desquels vous devez sans cesse rappeler les Procureurs du Roi, les Juges d'Instruction, et chacun des agents judiciaires qui vous sont subordonnés. .... Attachez-vous à imprimer fortement cette vérité aux Magistrats Instructeurs que la célérité dans le» InformatioM est pour eux un devoir impérieux, et qu'ils se chargent d'une grande responsabilité lorsque, sans une nécessité évidonte,ils la prolongent au delà du temps suffisant pour faire régler la Compétence, et statuer sur la Préconisation en Connaissance de Causo."—Circulaire aux Préfets, 24th April 1819. Circulaire aux Préfeti, ii. 271.

Chap, popular, and the general discontent had now reached such

IX' a height as seriously to menace its existence. Three

]®19- elections remained to complete the last renewal of the Increasing Chamber, and the persons elected, M. Daunou, Saintthe ut<?1 Aignan, and Benjamin Constant, were all leaders of the sTStoncedtoe" extreme democratic party. Nor was the hostility to the mer2°vern" Ministers confined to electoral contests. In the Chamber itself the most violent and systematic resistance was made to every proposal of the Government; and every concession they made, so far from disarming the opposition, only rendered it more virulent and persevering. The press was never so violent and undisguised in its attacks on the administration; and to such a length did its hostility proceed, that before two months had elapsed from the coup d'etat creating sixty new peers in the democratic interest, Ministers found it necessary to bring forward a lasting law regarding the press, to be a bridle on its excesses.

Although this law was a great concession to the Lawre'gard- popular party, and placed the liberty of the press upon a press!"6 better basis than it had ever been, since the Restoration April 21. gaye freedom to France, it excited the most violent opposition in both Chambers and in the public press. It abolished the censorship.—an immense step in the progress of real freedom—and declared that offences against the laws for restraining its excesses should be tried by juries. This was evidently laying the only true foundation for entire freedom on this subject; but the enactment which it also contained, that the proprietors of newspapers should find security to meet fines or claims of damages which might be awarded against them, gave rise to the most violent opposition, both in the legislature and the public journals. "The press is strangled," was the universal cry; "give us back the censorship." Yet—markworthy circumstance—the proposal passed into a law j the resistance was overcome; of the whole journals, not one perished from inability to find caution; but the Chap violence and vehemence of the press became greater than

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ever. In truth, in an age of intelligence and strong poli- 1819" tical excitement, it is impossible to restrain the press; and the enactments of the legislature, be they what they may, are of little consequence, for they ere long become a dead letter. During the whole of the stormy discussion which took place on this subject, the Royalists took no part, confining themselves to the urging an amendment, declaring offences against religion punishable; which was agreed to. They desired freedom of discussion as the only means of achieving their return to power; but they were ashamed of the allies who aided them at the moment in the attempt. The project passed ultimately into a law by a majority of eighty-five; the numbers being a i Cap. vi. hundred and forty-three to fifty-eight; and thus the{^.;?^7. Restoration might justly boast of having obtained for ^j1^'France the inestimable blessing of a real liberty of the 'aw press, to which no approach ever had been made during 22",ri8i9? either the Revolution or the Empire.1

A still more vehement debate took place on a matter which was anxiously pressed on the king by the whole Debate on extreme left of the Chamber, and all their supporters in of the pro" the public press—viz., the general and unqualified return ^edpe> of the proscribed persons. From the state of maturity to which the project for the overthrow of the Bourbons had arrived, this was a matter of very great importance; for the exiles whom it was proposed to get back would be the very first to become its leaders. The Ministers resisted the attempt to force such a measure upon the king; they had some information as to the danger which impended over the monarchy, and thought justly, that if the sovereign was driven into such a general measure, it, ^ v. would take away all credit for acts of grace conferred w, 171; upon individuals.2 M. de Serres, on this occasion, broke a. 228,229. forth into an eloquent declamation, the termination of

Chap. which made an immense sensation, and contributed, in an IX essential manner, to alienate the democratic leaders from 1819- the crown, and reveal the secret hostility with which they were actuated against it.

"In the petitions which have been presented," said Sp«ch of M. de Serres, "it is particularly to be observed, that res on the there is no question as to individuals exiled for a time .abjeet . under the law of january 1816, but of all the proscribed individuals in a mass. They include not only the regicides, but the family of Buonaparte himself. When the deplorable day of the 20th March 1815 appeared, in the midst of the profound consternation of all good citizens, and the frantic joy of a few agitators; when, from the confines of Europe and Asia to the shores of the ocean, Europe ran to arms, and France was invaded by millions of foreign soldiers; when it was despoiled of its fortune, its monuments, and in danger of having its territory reft away, every one felt that the first duty of every good citizen was to defend the crown by severe measures against fresh aggressions. Then arose the question, whether the individuals who had concurred in the vote for the death of Louis XVI. should be removed from the French territory; and every one knows with what perseverance the royal clemency struggled against the proposition for their banishment. Many men, known by their boundless devotion to the royal cause, and to the principles of a constitutional monarchy, maintained that a universal and unqualified amnesty should be pronounced. But it was otherwise decided; and having been so, the decision was irrevocable. The extreme generosity of the king might engage individuals to abstain from voting; but when once the law was passed, it was evidently imi Aru.Hist, possible, without doing violence to the strongest moral nS.'Miy feeungs, without inflicting a fatal wound on the royal c» 'vi'ui aut^o"ty m the eyes of France and Europe, to urge the 17& 'king to restore to the country the assassins of his brother, his lawfully crowned predecessor.1 It is necessary, therefore, to make a distinction between the individuals struck Chap. at by the law of January 1816. In the irrevocable IX'

category should be placed the family of Buonaparte and 1819, the regicide voters. The rest are only exiled for a time. To conclude in one word—the regicides, never; as to those exiled for a time, entire confidence in the goodness of the king."

The expression used by M. de Serres, jamais (never), made an immense sensation. It at once separated the Immense extreme Left from the Ministry, and, by the exasperation product which it produced, revealed their secret designs. So great d*' was the ferment that, in the report of his speech in the Moniteur, it was deemed necessary to add a qualifying expression, to the effect that, although the regicides could never claim a return, they might hope for it from the clemency of the king, in consideration of age and infirmities.* But this qualification produced no impression. The unqualified words had been spoken by the minister in his place in the Chamber, and were taken as a decisive indication of the intentions of Government. The exasperation of the extreme Liberals, accordingly, continued unabated, and was so strongly expressed in the contemporary journals in their interest, that both M. de Serres and M. Decazes began to hesitate in regard to the possibility of carrying on the government by the support of such allies. A schism, attended in the end with important effects, was beginning in the Cabinet, and to this period is to be referred the commencement of an, Cap ^ alteration in the sentiments of the leading members J^, |7«^g of administration, which ultimately led to a change of m. government.1

Open war being now declared between the Government and the Liberal press, and all restraints upon the latter being taken away by the removal of the censorship,

• "A regard des regicides jamais, sauf, comme jo l'ai dit, les tolerances accordees par la clemence du roi a l'age et aux infirmites."—Moniteur, May 18, 1819; Ann. Hist, il 230.

VOL. II. S

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