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prolong my days, it is to consolidate the institutions I CHAP.
IX. have given to my people. But whatever may be the –
1820. intentions of Providence, let us never forget our constitutional maxim, “The king never dies in France.”
Although these expressions and allusions seemed to presage an important and perhaps eventful session, yet Measures of
the session, it proved otherwise, and the session passed over with fixing the fewer legislative measures of importance than any which of the relec
well, boundaries had occurred since the Restoration. The reason was that the Royalist majority was so decided that the strife of party was over, while, at the same time, as they were still in a minority in the Cabinet, they could not bring forward those measures on which their leaders were set, with a view to modify the general frame and influence of Government. The initiation of laws still belonged to the king's Ministers : the opposition could only introduce their ideas by amendments, which, however, often assumed the importance of original propositions. An important bill in its practical effects, though not so much so in appearance, was introduced and carried, to determine the boundaries of electoral districts. It was intended to increase the Royalist influence, and did so most effectually. Great difficulty was experienced in arranging the details of the municipal law which had been promised to M. de Villèle, but at length M. Mounier succeeded in drawing one which met the views of both parties. But being founded on a compromise, it was really acceptable to neither; and it experienced so much resistance in the Chamber that after a prolonged discussion it was at length withdrawn. The king said on,.. this occasion, “I had abandoned the rights of the crown; iv. 44, 51;
Cap. vii. the Chambers would not permit it: I have learned a 149, 151. lesson."1
The strength of the Royalists in the Chamber made Ministers feel the necessity of bringing forward some measure in support of the Church, upon which they were so anxiously set. They did so accordingly, and the law
1 Ann. I list.
CHAP. they proposed gave the king power to establish twelve
_ new bishoprics, and to raise considerably the salaries of
the clergy in those situations where it might be deemed Law for necessary. The report of the commission, to whom the
ti- matter was referred, bore “that religion, resting between cal endow
the two concordats of 1801 and 1817, without any solid basis, was reduced with its ministers to the most deplorable state, to which the legislature is not sufficiently alive. The absolute absence of religion in the country districts is an evil to which no other is comparable. Civilisation is the perfection of the laws—very different from politeness, which is the perfection of the arts —and is nothing but Christianity applied to the legislation of societies. The law met with very violent opposition
from the Liberal party in the Chamber, but it passed by His a majority of more than two to one—the numbers beiv. 96, 110; ing 219 to 105: a result which sufficiently indicated the 151, 152. vast change which the recent changes in the Electoral
Law had made in the popular branch of the legislature.1
The return of peace, and opening of its harbours to Modifica- the commerce of all nations, had produced, though in a tions in the one
' lesser degree, the same effect in France as in Great Britain. Importation had increased to a degree which excited alarm; and the grain districts loudly demanded some restrictions upon foreign importation, as a protection to native industry. In the course of the discussion, M. de Villèle stated, that the annual consumption of France was 160,000,000 hectolitres of grain ; that the crop of 1819 had exceeded that amount by a tenth; notwithstanding which 1,400,000 hectolitres, or about i of the annual consumption, had been imported; while the exportation had only been 538,000 hectolitres; leaving a balance of 862,000 hectolitres introduced when not required. The import duty paid on these 862,000 hectolitres was 2,573,000 francs. The importation came chiefly from Odessa, America, and Egypt. The regulations proposed and adopted in consequence were chiefly
of a local character, throwing restrictions on the importa- CHAP, tion of foreign grain, by limiting the number of places –
1821, where it might be received. But the increased importation, even under the considerable protecting duty which existed in France, is a valuable illustration of the eternal law, that the old and rich state is always undersold in the productions of subsistence by the poor one, as much ? Ann. Hist.
iv. 75, 89, as it undersells the latter in the production of manufac- 587. tures.1*
A law, which excited much more attention, though not of so much real importance, was brought forward Law for the
indemnity by Government for an indemnity to the Imperial dona- of the Imtaries. These were the marshals, generals, and others caries. whom, as explained in a former work, Napoleon had endowed, often richly, out of the revenues of Italy, Germany, and other countries over which his power extended, during the spring-tide of his fortunes, 2 but who, ? Hist, of by the refluence of his dominion to the limits of Old C. 1. 962. France, had been entirely bereaved of their possessions, and were reduced to great straits in consequence. The distresses of these persons had been such, that they obtained a slight relief from the Treasury by the finance law of 1818, but now it was proposed to give them a durable indemnity. As many of these persons were of the highest rank, and their names associated with the most glorious epochs of the Empire, the proposal excited a very great sensation, and was loudly applauded by the Imperial party, who were to profit by it. The
* The price of wheat at Odessa was, on an average, this year—which was there one of scarcity-12 francs ; freight to Marseilles, 3 francs 50 cents, and the import duty 5 francs 50 cents; in all 20 francs (16s.) the hectolitre, or 48s. the quarter. The usual price at Odessa was 4 francs the hectolitre, which corresponds to about 12 francs (10s.) the quarter. Exportation was permitted in France by the law of 14th December 1814, only when the price in the frontier departments was 23 francs for the best wheat, 21 francs for the second, and 19 francs for the third, which showed that the average cost of production was above the highest of these sums. The import duty was 5 francs 50 cents the hectolitre, but even at this high import duty the influx of foreign grain from America, Odessa, and the Nile had caused a ruinous fall of prices in all the southern provinces.- L'Annuaire Historique, iv. 75.
CHAP. intention of Government was to make this grant to the
__time-honoured relics of the Imperial régime a precedent 1821. for the great indemnity which they meditated to the
emigrants and others who had been dispossessed of their estates by the Revolution ; for after the Liberals had unanimously supported grants from the public funds for the relief of their chiefs who had lost their possessions by the calamities of war, it was not easy to see on what principle they could oppose a similar grant to the sufferers under the confiscations of the Revolution. The Royalists, however, did not see this, or they had do faith in the existing Ministry carrying out this design, as Marshal Macdonald, who introduced the project in 1814, had intended, apd it met accordingly with the most impassioned resistance from the Right of the Assembly. No words can describe the indignation of the Royalists when they heard the names of the chief persons to be benefited by the new law, embracing the principal leaders of the Napoleonist party, and those most deeply implicated in the conspiracy of 1815.* “It is,” said M. Duplessis “a reward for conspirators.” The indemnity proposed was an inscription on the Grand Livre—in other words, the gift of so much stock in the Five per Cents, bearing date 22d Sept. 1821, in certain fixed proportions.
The bill underwent many amendments in committee; 1 Ann. Hist. iv. 115,128; but at length, after great hesitation, indicative of weakCap. vii. 148, 149, ness on the part of Ministers, it passed as originally
proposed by a majority of 203 to 125.1
The question of the censorship of the press still re102. Law regard- mained, which afforded as regular a subject for the encounship of the ver O ter of parties in France as that of Catholic Emanci
parties 11 pation did in England. Although the Ministry was now of so mixed a character that it might reasonably have
* They were, MM. Jean-Bon Saint-André, Jean de Bry, Quinette, General Hullin, Labédogère, Marshal Ney, Count d'Estar, General Lefèvre-Desnouettes, General Gilly, General Mouton-Duvernet, General Clauzel, Count de Laborde, General Excelmans, the Duke de Bassano, General Lamarque, Baron Méchin. -CAPEFIQUE, Hist. de la Restauration, vii. 149.
been supposed that both sets of journalists, having each CHAP. something to hope from the Government, would support – it, yet it proved otherwise ; and there is no period in the whole annals of the Restoration when the press was more violent, or parties were more exasperated against each other. Perhaps this was unavoidable : the effect of the change in the Electoral Law was now evident, and a party in possession of power is never so exasperated as when it sees the reins gradually but perceptibly slipping from its hands. The Minister of the Interior accordingly, Count Siméon, brought forward a project for continuing the censorship, alleging, in justification of the proposal, that it had during the past year been so gently exercised, that no fair discussion had ever been interfered with, but intemperate abuse alone excluded. The commission, however, to which the matter was referred, reported against the project, and Government, in the Chamber itself, were defeated on an amendment proposed by M. Courtarvel, on the part of the Liberals, that the restriction should continue only three months after the commencement of the session of 1821. Thus modified, how- ! Ann. Hist.
iv. 180, 191, ever, the proposal passed into a law in the Deputies by a 195. majority of 214 to 112 ; in the Peers, by 83 to 45.1 This debate was chiefly memorable for the first open
103. declaration of opinion on the part of Ministers, which speech of
M. Pasquier revealed an irreconcilable division of opinion and ap- or proaching rupture in the Cabinet. “If the censorship,” 50 said M. Pasquier, “ has been useful, it has been chiefly in what relates to foreign affairs, and certainly it has rendered great services, in that respect, not only to France, but to Europe. We are accused of having enmities and partialities; yes, I admit I have a repugnance to those men, to whatever party they belong, who wish to trouble, or, without intending it, do trouble, the tranquillity of our country, who disunite minds when they should be united. I have a repugnance to the men who, too often exhuming from the tomb the revolutionary maxims,