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one perished from inability to find caution ; but the CHAP. violence and vehemence of the press became greater than ever. In truth, in an age of intelligence and strong poli- 1 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 1 Cap. vi. hundred and forty-three to fifty-eight; and thus the 161, 164.
e Lac. ii. 307; Restoration might justly boast of having obtained for Ann. Hist.
10- ii. 83, 88, France the inestimable blessing of a real liberty of the 110; Moni
teur, April press, to which no approach ever had been made during 22, 1819. either the Revolution or the Empire.1 A still more vehement debate took place on a matter
11. which was anxiously pressed on the king by the whole Debate on
the return extreme left of the Chamber, and all their supporters in of the pro. the public press—viz., the general and unqualified return $ 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,
° ° Cap. vi. would take away all credit for acts of grace conferred 170, 171;
Ann. Hist. upon individuals.2 M. de Serres, on this occasion, broke ii, 228, 229. forth into an eloquent declamation, the termination of
scribed pet sons.
M. de Ser
res on the
CHAP, which made an immense sensation, and contributed, in an
_ 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 Speech of M. de Serres, “it is particularly to be observed, that
there is no question as to individuals exiled for a time subject.
under the law of 12th 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 meu, 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 im1 Ann. Hist. possible, without doing violence to the strongest moral ii: 230; Mo- feelings, without inflicting a fatal wound on the royal niteur, May 18, 1819;, authority in the eyes of France and Europe, to urge the Cap. vi. 171, 173. king to restore to the country the assassins of his brother,
his lawfully crowned predecessor. It is necessary, there
this de te.
fore, to make a distinction between the individuals struck CHAP. at by the law of January 1816. In the irrevocable – 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 produced which it produced, revealed their secret designs. So great batu 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
1 Cap. vi. alteration in the sentiments of the leading members 174, 175;
Lac, ii. 316, of administration, which ultimately led to a change of 317. 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 l'égard des régicides jamais, sauf, comme je l'ai dit, les tolérances accordées par la clémence du roi à l'âge et aux infirmités.”—Moniteur, May 18, 1819; Ann. Hist. ii. 230.
CHAP, there was no end to the violence with which Ministers ._ were assailed by the democratic party. All that they had
done was forgotten; what it was feared they would do Increasing alone was considered. The coup d'état, which had changed violence and exaspera- the Electoral Law, and promised soon to give them the tion of the
command of the Chambers—the creation of peers, which
had been on the Royalist administration. A popular Cap. vi.
party which is suspected of an intention of stopping 175, 190; in the career of concession, soon becomes the object of 213, 214, more inveterate hostility than that which had always
As these ulcerated feelings arose from disappointed ambition rather than patriotic feeling, they were in no
degree abated by the general prosperity which prevailed, CHAP, and which proved how much, as a whole, the Government of the Restoration had deserved the support and affec- 18
15. tions of the country. The budget of 1819 presented a Budget of striking and most gratifying contrast to those which had "19 preceded it, and proved the immensity of the relief which the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle, and the evacuation of the territory, had procured for the French nation.* The estimated expenses of the year were only 889,200,000 francs, being a reduction of nearly 300,000,000 francs from those of the preceding year, which had amounted to 1,154,000,000 francs. In the expense of the year, independent of the cessation of the payments to the Allies, there was a reduction of 15,000,000 francs. The Government had good reason to congratulate itself upon the exposition of its financial situation : nothing nearly so favourable had been presented since the Revolution; for here was a reduction of £12,000,000 a-year, effected, not by contributions exacted from other countries, or any reduction in the national armaments, but simply by successful diplomatic arrangements with foreign states, and ii. 161, 163;
Cap.vi.J91, the moderation on the part of their rulers which the 193. policy of the French Government had inspired. 1
All eyes, in the autumn of this year, were fixed on the annual election for filling up the fifth of the Chamber, Preparawhich by law was vacated and renewed every season. election of Already the evils of these annual elections had come to 1819. be severely felt; and the expression of the approach of * The budget of 1819 stood thus :
1 Ann. Hist.
17,460,000 Interior, . .
102,700,000 - War, . . . .
192,750,000 - Marine, · · · ·
45,200,000 Miscellaneous, . . .
889,210,000, or £35,450,000 - Annuaire Historique, ii. 161.