Imágenes de páginas

public duty an appropriate responsibility;" and they venture the opinion, that if provision had been then made for redress to individuals “ for injuries sustained through the delinquency of any public functionary, corporation, or community," they would not at this day have been called on "to deplore and redress these outrages."

The following facts were clearly established :

That the public authorities of the city, and the citizens generally, were fully and in time apprized of the approaching tumult.

That the civil authorities, aided as they might have been by the citizens, possessed abundant means to prevent the assemblage of the rioters; or, at any time, to quell and disperse them; and consequently to save from injury the property of the sufferers.

That no proper measures were adopted to prevent the formation of the mob, to disperse it, or stop its violence.

That culpable hesitation, inefficiency, and want of spirit, marked the conduct of the chief officer of the city and his advisers; a temporizing policy alike destructive of his own official reputation and of the peace of the community over whose police he presided.

That the riot could have been crushed in its inception, or at any stage of its progress been quelled, by the prompt, energetic, and determined co-operation of an inconsiderable body of citizens properly and efficiently armed, without the use of firearms, or the shedding of a drop of blood.

That the wavering and unconnected and uncombined efforts which were at intervals exerted, only served to encourage the rioters and to fan the flame of disorder.

That the final triumph of order in the way in which it was perfected, furnished the best proof of the absence of all proper management in the prior stages of the riot.

In contempt of such proofs, a refusal to indemnify the sufferers or to pass a general law for the future would have argued the legislature of that distinguished state insensible or indifferent to her fame and its own duty. A compliance with both requisitions has redeemed the character of Maryland, exalted that of her legislators, and set a bright example for the imitation of the Union.

Art. V.The Monarchy of the Middle Classes.-France, Social,

Literary, Political. Second Series. By HENRY LYTTON BULWER, Esq. M. P. 2 vols. 12mo. London, 1836.

The present government of France is a government of the « bourgeoisie." Let us observe the state of parties at the revolution of 1830. A portion of the royalists were favourable to the ordinances against the press, and also to the ministry—the other part were friends to the monarchy, but not to the ordinances. Of the liberalists, some were desirous of retaining the old form of government, without caring by whom it was administered, so that it was popularly administered—the rest wanted a new dynasty, and new institutions. It is these two branches of the liberalists that form the administration and opposition parties of the existing reign; and the “juste milieu," at whose head was M. Casimir Perier in 1830, was for steering between the two. Beyond all these, a republican in principle, but not advocating a republican form of government for France, was Gen. La Fayette.

Those who desired a new order of things were for the Duc de Orléans. Henri V. was not seriously thought of, although the throne was abdicated by Charles X. in his favour. What would have resulted from the accession of the Duc de Bordeaux ? The advocates of legitimacy would have been satisfied—if new institutions were established, one branch, at least, of the liberal party would have been satisfied-M. Casimir Perier and the "juste milieu" would have been satisfied-the republicans and the ultra royalists would not have been satisfied. How could a republic have been established ? It would have been madness to attempt it-even La Fayette never thought of it—the declaration of a republic would have let loose the dogs of war, with the young Napoleon at their head, for there was no military prestige but that which was connected with his name. What would have been the state of affairs, then, with a military republic, and the Duke of Reichstadt for first consul? The glorious recollections of the consulate and of the empire would have roused the ardour of the French soldiery-the nobility would have shrunk back—the higher 6 bourgeoisie” would have shrunk back-internal dissensions would have been rife -external war inevitable. Those flaming propagators of legitimacy, the Holy Alliance, would have marched to the gates of Paris, and the result could not have been doubtful.

The enthusiasm of the people, always short lived, but in France especially so, might have sustained the young Napoleon for a brief space, and then there would have been another “ Restoration." Charles X. would have been on the throne

again, or else the Duc de Bordeaux with the old régime. Napoleon then was out of the question-Henri V. was out of the question he was a Bourbon in the legitimate line, and the “ bourgeoisie” were no advocates of legitimacy. Their cry of the revolution had been “à bas les Bourbons”-they wanted a new era, and of course a new charter, or, at least, a remodelling of the old one, which amounted to the same thing. True, the substance of this they might have had with Henri V.--but the people were aroused—a revolution was no revolution unless every thing was revolutionized. Charles X. and the Dauphin and the Duc de Bordeaux were not to be thought of. The question then was, whether a provisional government should be named, during the vacancy of the throne. This would have been a great movement for the French people the popular enthusiasm would have had time to subside, and a permanent government could have been deliberately chosen.

Another question arose. The Duc d'Orléans was proposed. "We declare for the Duc d'Orléans," said the liberal royalists, " because he is a Bourbon,"_" we choose the Duc d'Orléans," said the opposition party, “because he is out of the legitimate line,"_" we will take the Duc d'Orléans," said the republicans, “ as the soldier of Jemappes.”

The choice was thus made-now how was the throne to be filled ? By the Duc d'Orléans as Philippe V., or as Louis Philippe I. The first would have been a continuation of the ancient monarchy—the other, the commencement of a new era. Messieurs Guizot and Sebastiani, with one branch of the liberal party, were for Philippe V., Messieurs Lafitte and La Fayette, with the other branch, were for Louis Philippe I. The latter prevailed, and Louis Philippe ascended the throne of France.

Now this was an extraordinary termination to a popular revolution. The king was chosen, or rather accepted, in a moment of excitement, when the people are governed by feeling, and apt to run into extremes. In this case, a continuation of legitimate rule with Henri V. was one extreme--a republic, with young Napoleon, was the other extreme. If the people had been left to themselves, one of these, perhaps the latter, would in all probability have been chosen ; but the people were confused and uncertain, and the final choice was a compromise among the different parties.

We cannot think, that in 1830, under the circumstances then existing, the selection was the best for France—yet the result has been a good one, so far as we are able to judge in 1836. What is the government of Louis Philippe? It is a government of those classes who form the great and influential body of constitutional France, and who are prospering under the present order—a monarchy of the “ bourgeoisie." Commerce and

VOL. XIX.-No. 38. 44

manufactures flourish, and wealth pours upon them from every side. The aristocracy of blood has been destroyed-a new influence is rising—the aristocracy of money. If France continue to prosper, the latter will prevail, and the throne of the citizen king will be preserved in peace—if not, there will be another revolution. But France will prosper under the present government. It is a government of peace-a government which regards the interests of the people, and does not rule for the sole benefit of the pampered few. The Code de Commerce has been revised and amended the freedom of trade extendedand now we behold the ministry using all their exertions to keep off a contest with Russia. Well, but the Carlists and the republicans? Of course they must be watched—there never was a government on the face of the earth without its domestic opponents. Repressive laws are enacted to keep down the malcontents, and though the disturbers of the public tranquillity may groan about the liberty of the press—the policy of the government will be sustained by the constituency of the nation.

The government of Louis Philippe is then a government of repression-it must be so. Why? Because the prince at the head of it sprang from a popular convulsion, and must therefore be constantly, in the language of Mr. Bulwer, “struggling against popular concessions.” He was placed upon the throne, not by right of inheritance, but by the voice of the people; and so is expected to yield on all occasions to the clamours of the people! There can be no governing by system under such circumstances, and thus far, the rule of the doctrinaires is a weak one. The government may sometimes yield, when good policy requires it; but they must yield seldom, or they will lose the power of resisting. There must be no hesitation when action becomes necessary. Severe and decisive measures must be adopted, to quell popular commotions, and this cannot be done by a weak government."

Now we say that the late restrictions upon the press were neither despotic nor arbitrary. There is in France a large body of malcontents, made up of the ruins of several successive governments, the most visionary and dangerous of whom are the débris of the imperial army-regarding no consequencesutterly indifferent to death-having no personal interest at stake upon the success or failure of this or that measure-except their own miserable necks, which they care not for—these men are always at hand to foment popular discontent or excite rebellion. Can such men be governed by mild laws? It is impossible. A rod of iron must be held over them, ready to descend upon their heads at the slightest movement. But the first blow to be struck is at the root of the evil, and that is the press. We say that the press is the originator of nine tenths of the popular disturbances which agitate the French capital.

What caused the revolution of 1830 ? The press. What roused the anger of the Parisians against their government, when the news of the fall of Warsaw reached them in 1831? The press. What induced the late attempt by Fieschi upon the life of the king-an attempt in which some of the best blood of France was shed ?-by confession of the assassin, the press. And is the tranquillity of the nation to be constantly endangered by the licentiousness of the press, and the arm of government never to be raised in its defence? A government which could be thus indifferent to the happiness of its subjects, would be the contempt of its friends and foes.

The late restrictive measures against the press, were in strict obedience to the popular will, and in accordance with the principles on which Louis Philippe was elected to the monarchy. When we say the popular will, we mean the will of the “ bourgeoisie," the substantial citizens of France. These are the constituency of the nation--these the classes to whom the government looks for support.

Let us not be misunderstood here. We mean not to rail against the liberty of the press, properly so called. A free press is one of the greatest blessings enjoyed in a republican country; but the liberty of the press in America is the licentiousness of the press in France. In America, the people are the source of all power; they make their own laws, and administer them by means of agents created by their own will. Every citizen has an equal voice in the government of the nation-and it is the right, nay it is the duty, of the constituency to speak unreservedly of public men and public measures. It is, in truth, the only manner of effecting an interchange of views and opinions, without which the sovereignty of the people would be an empty name. In America, a law restricting the freedom of speech and of the press, would be a dagger struck into the constitution.

Not so in France. What are the resources of the French people when they become dissatisfied with the acts of their government? Is a remedy to be found in the elective franchise? Can they say to their monarch, “ Your term is ended—we do not approve the course of your administration--we will elect another king"--can they say this ?-if they could, there would be no necessity for restraining the liberty of the press. The voice of the people would be the supreme law, and by that would the press be governed. In a free republic the press is guided by the people--not the people by the press. That this is the case in America, is not to be disputed. No press ever could be sustained here, under the habitual violation of popular opinion. We say, then, that if the French people are dissatis

« AnteriorContinuar »