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Chambers, and called forth the very highest abilities on Chap. either side. On the side of the Opposition it was con- IX' tended by M. Royer-Collard, M. Lafayette, and General Foy: "The charter has consecrated the Revolution by Argument subjecting it to compromise; it is it which has given us by'thc'opall our liberties—the liberty of conscience, which is ex- po81tlonpressly guaranteed by it; and equality, which is guaranteed by representative institutions. The Chamber of Deputies is the guarantee of the charter. That is a proposition which no one will be so bold as to dispute. Take away the Elective Chamber, and power resides alone in the Executive and the Chamber of Peers; the nation becomes retrograde—it becomes a domain, and is possessed as such. Take away the guarantees promised by the charter, and you turn that instrument against itself; or, what is even worse, you render it an object of derision, alike against the sovereign who granted and the people who received it. If the Government had persisted in its intention of revising the charter, it would have experienced less opposition than in this attempt, which is pretending to uphold the charter, to undermine its most important provisions. It is not because the charter has given this one the title of Baron, another that of Bishop, that it is the idol of the nation; it is because it has secured liberty of conscience and personal freedom that it has become so, and that we have sworn fidelity to it. Now we are virtually absolved from our oaths—the aristocracy is secretly undermining both the nation and the throne. Can you doubt it, when you recollect the contempt and derision it has cast on that glorious standard with which such recollections are associated—that standard which, we do not hesitate to repeat, is that of public freedom \
"In vain may the proposed law be passed, and even for a time carried into execution; the public feeling will Continued, extinguish it, wear it out, destroy it by resistance; it never will become the law of France. Representative government will not be wrested from you; it is stronger
Chap. than the will of its adversaries. By a coup d'Stat of 18th — Fructidor* you may transport men; you cannot transport opinions. Our old parliaments were not so robust as a representative assembly; they did not speak in the name of France, but they sometimes defended the public liberties, and the eloquent and courageous remonstrances which they laid at the foot of the throne resounded through the nation. The ministry of Louis XV. wished to overthrow them : he was conquered. The parliaments, for a moment subdued, raised themselves again amidst the public acclamations; and the ephemeral puppets with whom they had filled their benches disappeared for ever. Thus will vanish the Chamber of Privilege. 65 "You strive in vain against an irresistible torrent. You Continued, are under the iron hand of necessity. So long as equality is the law of society, equal representation is imposed upon it in all its energy and purity. Ask from it no concessions; it is not for it to make them. The representative government is itself a guarantee. As such it is called on to demand concessions, not to make them. Be not surprised, therefore, that it is partial to the new order of things—it exists only to insure the triumph of the charter. Would you obtain its support ?—Embrace its cause. Separate right from privilege. Affection is the true bond of societies. Study what attracts a nation, what it repudiates, what it hopes, what it fears; in a word, show yourself a part of it, and you will be popular. During eight centuries, this has been the secret of the English aristocracy. Legitimacy is the idea the most profound, and withal the most fruitful, which has penetrated modern society. It renders evident to all in a visible and immortal image the idea of right, that noble appanage of the human race; of right, without which there would be nothing on earth, but a life without dignity, and a death without hope. Legitimacy belongs to us more than any other nation, for no other nation
* In 1*97, when tho Directory was overturned.
possesses it in such purity as ourselves, or can point to so Chap. illustrious a line of great and good princes
"Rivers do not flow back to their sources: accom- **®0'
plished facts are not restored to nonentity. A bloody concluded. Revolution had changed the face of our earth: on the ruins of the ancient society, overturned with violence, a new society had raised itself, governed by new maxims and new men. Like all conquerors, I say it in its presence that society was barbarous: it had neither received, in its origin nor in its progress, the true principle of civilisation—right. Legitimacy, which alone had preserved the ark of our salvation, could alone restore it to us: it has restored it. With the royal race, right has reappeared; every day has been marked by its progress in opinions, manners, and laws. In a few years we have recovered the social doctrines which we had lost. Right has succeeded to power. Legitimacy on the throne has become the guarantee of the general ascendant of law. As it is the ruling principle in society, good faith is its august character; it is profaned if it is lowered to astuteness or devoured by fraud. The proposed law sinks the legitimate monarchy to the level of the government of the Revolution, by rest-1 Ann Hist ing it on fraud. The project of the proposed law is the I^mo. most fatal which has ever come out of the councils of kings ■ JJ»y since those, of fatal memory, which overturned the family ij,c.ii.4ia, of the Stuarts. It is the divorce of the nation from its vii. 30,*fi sovereign." 1
On the other hand, it was contended, on the part of the Government, by M. de Serres, M. Simeon, and M. Villele: An«wer by "We are reminded of two periods—the days of our Revolu- rfSut^1"*" tion and the present time. History will judge the first, and it will judge also the men who were engaged in it. But I cannot dissemble what the strange speech of M. Lafayette obliges me to declare, that he put himself at the head of the men who attacked the monarchy, and in the end overturned it. I am convinced that generous and
VOL. II. x
Chap, elevated sentiments animated him; but, inspired by these IX' feelings, is it surprising to him that men attached by prin1820- ciple and duty to that monarchy should have defended it before it fell 1 He should be just enough not to impute to the victims of those times all the evils of a Revolution which has pressed so heavily on themselves. Have these times left in the mind of the honourable member some mournful recollections, many useful lessons? He should have known—many a time he must have felt, with death in his heart and blushes on his face—not only that, after having once roused the masses, their leaders have no longer the power to restrain them, but that they are forced to follow, and even to lead them.
"But let us leave these old events, and think of our
continued, present condition, and the questions which are now before us. What chiefly weighs with me is the declaration made by General Lafayette, that he has entered these walls to make oath to the constitution (he has not said the king and the constitution), and that that oath was reciprocal; that the acts of the legislature—your acts—have violated the constitution, and that he is absolved from his oath! He declares this in the name of himself and his friends: he declares it in the face of the nation! He adds to this declaration an 61oge, as affected as it is ill-timed, of colours which cannot now be regarded as any other colours but those of rebellion. The scandal which I denounce, so far from being repented of, has been renewed a second time in the tribune. What, I ask, can be the motive for such conduct \ If insensate persons, excited by such language criminally imprudent, proceed to acts of sedition, on whose head should fall the blood shed in rebellion, or in extinguishing it by the hands of the law % And when a man, who himself has precipitated the excesses of the people, saw their fury turned against himself—when that man, respectable in many respects, uses language of which his own experience should have taught him the danger, are not his words to be regarded as more blamable than if they came from an ordinary man? The Chap. honourable member, who should be so well aware of the Ix' danger of revolutionary movements, now pretends to be 1820ignorant of them. With the same breath he pronounces a glowing eulogium on the cause of rebellion; and declares, in his own name and that of his colleagues, that he considers himself absolved from his oath of fidelity to the charter: he proclaims the sovereignty of the people, which is, in other words, the right of insurrection. Is not such an appeal an incitement to rebellion \ And does not that point to your duty in combating an opposition animated by such principles 1
"The Electoral Law of 1817 has lost, since it was car
ned into execution, the most important of its defenders. Continued. It has been the cause of the present crisis in society. The same Ministers who formerly proposed, who subsequently have been compelled to defend it, convinced by experience, animated by a sense of duty, now come forward to propose its modification. The very Chamber of Peers which voted its adoption has risen up against it. Sixty peers were created to vanquish the resistance to it in that Chamber; a hundred would be required to insure its continuance. It is no wonder it is so, for the law of 1817 failed in the chief object of representative institutions. It excluded the masses alike of property and numbers. What renders it in an especial manner dangerous is, that the limited homogeneous class to which it has confined the franchise becomes every year, by the annual elections, more grasping, more selfish, more exclusive. So evident has this danger become, that if the present change is not carried, the friends of liberty will be compelled themselves to bring forward a modification of the law in the interest of freedom.
"France will never bear for any time a homogeneous Q representation, as the proposer of the existing law at one Comiu'ued. time supposed it would: unmistakable proofs of the general revolt against such a system arise on all sides.