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If to these incidents we add, out difficulty, as it had been made that a violent attack was about this without provocation,—we shall have time made upon the ministers, on ac- mentioned everything necessary to give count of the escape of Lavalette, from our readers an adequate idea of the a groundless suspicion that they had state in which the spirit of the legisfavoured that escape from luke-warm- lative bodies was during this part of ness to the honour of the king-an their session. attack which was repelled indeed with.
happiness is doubled when shared with a friend ; and where can one find a friend more tender, more dear, than in the bosom of one's own family ? Let my son never forget the last words of his father, which I emphatically repeat to him-Let him never seek to revenge our death.
“ I have to speak on a subject very painful to my feelings : I know how much pain this child must have caused you ; pardon him, my dear sister; consider his age, and how easy it is to make a child say whatever one pleases, and even what he does not understand. A day, I hope, will come, when he will so much the more forci. bly feel the full value of your kindness and tenderness to them both. It now remains to confide to you my last thoughts. I would have written them from the beginning of the trial; but besides not being permitted to write, its progress has been so rapid, that I really should not have had time.
“I die in the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Religion, that of my fathers, that in which I was educated, and which I have always professed; having no spiritual consolation to expect, not knowing whether there be here any priests of that religion ; and, indeed, for a priest to visit me where I now am, would be too dangerous an undertaking
"I sincerely ask pardon of God for all the faults I may have committed during my life: I hope that in his goodness he will hear my last prayers, together with those which I have long poured forth, entreating him to receive my soul in his mercy and kindness. I ask forgiveness of all with whom I am acquainted, and of you, sister, in particular, for all the pain, which, without intending it, I may have caused you. I forgive all my enemies the injury they have done me. I here bid adieu to my aunts, and to all my brothers and sisters. I had friends! The idea of being separated from them for ever, and of their afflictions, is the greatest grief I feel in dying ; let them know at least, that to my latest moment, I thought of them.
“Adieu, my kind and tender sister ; may this letter reach you! Always think of me;
I embrace you with my whole heart, as well as those poor and dear children : O my God! how heart-rending it is to leave them for ever! Adieu ! Adieu ! ! must now occupy myself wholly with my spiritual duties. As I am not free in my ac, tions, they will perhaps bring me a priest, but I here protest that I will have nothing to say to him, and that I will treat him as a perfect stranger.”
Debates concerning the Law of Election.- Formation of the present Chamber
of Deputies.--Misrepresentations of its Character. Increasing Coldness of the Majority towards the Ministry.—Causes of this.—Disturbances and Seditious Movements at Tarascon—at Lyons—in the Neighbourhood of Grenoblemand in Paris itself.-Frustration of all these Piots.—Declaration of the Principles of the Majority of the Chamber of Deputies.- Prorogation of the Chambers—their sudden Dissolution. Character of the Persons returned to serve in the Lower Chamber.-The Viscount Chateaubriand is suspended from his functions as a Peer.-Shipwreck of the Meduse frigate -Affairs of Germany—and of Spain.
The next subject of importance which we are accustomed to see the debates occupied the attention of the legisla. in our parliament recorded in the jourtive bodies, was the state of the law nals of our metropolis, could not fail in regard to the formation of the Cham. to be highly interesting ; but the meaber of Deputies. In the royal ordon- gre abstracts furnished in the French nance which summoned together the papers are quite incapable of giving present representatives of the French any thing like a thoroughly intelligible nation, it had been expressly stated, view of what actually were the opinions that one great object of their discus- of the different orators. There is, howsions in this year ought to be, to place ever, no great difficulty in following the law in relation to this matter on a the main thread of the narrative, and footing of greater firmness and preci- understanding, what the objects were sion than had been supplied by the which the ministry and their oppogeneral but cautious expressions of nents had chiefly in view. the charter ; and several articles in the The mode in which the Chamber charter itself were particularly pointed of Deputies, now actually assembled, out as requiring to be taken into con had been formed in the preceding ausideration, and probably to be repealed tumn, has been misrepresented in Eng. by the joint consent of the Chambers' land by the greater part of those poliand the king. Early in the session, tical writers who have had occasion to accordingly, the projet of a law of allude to it. The most extravagant elections (as it was called) was brought misrepresentation was that of the L dindown by the minister to the Chamber burgh reviewers, who scrupled not to of Deputies, and handed over by them assert, that the most undue means had to the scrutiny of a committee. The been resorted to by the ministry for debates which occurred in this com the purpose of filling the Chamber mittee during the space of two months, with deputies whose opinions were were they reported in the same way as well own to be hostile to the prin
ciples of the Revolution. The truth of the very same persons who had per. is, that the royal ordinance, by which formed similar duties under Napoleon : the Chambers were called together, indeed, the addition of a few function. was dictated by Fouché, the regicide, aries to those in whom the charter had (then still in power); and if it had vested this duty, and who had been any intention whatever beyond what summoned by Buonaparte himself to it bore on its surface, that intention attend his Champ de Mai, was so very must, in all probability, have leaned inconsiderable, that no rational ground exactly the other way. The colleges could be imagined for suspecting these to which the election was entrusted, colleges of any thing like a strong bias consisted almost, without exception, in favour of anti-revolutionary ideas.
* We quote an able defence of this Chamber from The Correspondent, a work conducted with very remarkable talent and interest, but unhappily chargeable with the fault of political bigotry. Our quotation is otherwise given merely as an ex parte statement,
“ If ever the probabilities were against the royal authority and the institutions which it had created, they must certainly have been so at the moment of the last elections ; nor was a more perfidious counsel ever given to the king, than that of the election ordinances. France, shaken by the events of the month of March, 1815, saw the usurper, even after his defeat, supported, in his own person, or that of his son, by a crowd of deserters from the royal cause, many of the departments under their influence, many under that of a blind and mutinous army, the remainder over. whelmed by the allied forces, from the midst of whom, in spite of the well-known wishes of their sovereigns, cries and menaces were not unfrequently heard against the legitimate King of France. Such was the state of the country, at the time the elections were about to commence! And that no difficulty or danger might be wants ing, individuals known for their attachment to Buonaparte, members of his rebel as sembly and government, men who had just before voted for the proscription of the reigning family, were chosen, in the name of the king, prefects and presidents of the electoral colleges.
“The colleges met and proceeded to business. Those of the arrondissement named the candidates, and those of the departments chose the deputies, representatives of France; and of what persons were these electoral colleges composed ? They were precisely the same individuals who had, ten years before, been nominated for life by Buonaparte, after having been chosen from among the persons who paid the highest contributions in each department. They were the very men whom Buonaparte had assembled, only in the May preceding, to nominate representatives for his rebel Chamber, and of whom he had called deputations to Paris, to attend the sittings of the Champ de Mai. Again, what additions had been made to the original electors for life? 'The very same number which Buonaparte had introduced; so that, at these elections, the opposite parties were placed distinctly in presence of each other ; or rather, as all who were assembled actually drew their original authority from a revolutionary source, one might suppose, that there was only one party, which, supported by the concurrence of such favourable circumstances, was at liberty to display its whole strength, and to regain whatever influence it had lost. The event, however, totally disappointed this calculation, and produced a result little short of miraculous. It was from these very electoral colleges, that the actual representation, which in fact is the only national one ever seen in France, arose ; and, at the same time, we first had an opportunity of learning the real opinion of the people of France. It is a circumstance well worthy of observation, that these same colleges, which three months before, when convoked by Buonaparte, notwithstanding all the support which he gave, and all the lures which he held out to them, had been in general reduced
VOL. IX. PART 1.
If any thing had been awanting to lend after conduct of the Chamber, in reyet greater strength to the justification lation to the ministry itself, would be of the ministry as to this matter, the more than enough to supply the defi.
below a quarter of their numbers, now on the contrary, at the king's command, were more fully attended than ever was known, and carried almost all the elections by large and decided majorities.
« You must not forget, sir, that the king, by hís ordinance, had, for the first time, required a qualification in the candidates. They were to be persons, paying a direct contribution of at least 1000 francs. Will any body say, or would not any one blush to suggest, that this was intended to facilitate the election of poor emigrants, without property, and, of course, without the means of paying the required contribution? The king, too, put an end to the salaries, paid to the deputies in the time of Buonaparte: and this is a sufficient answer to the falsehood, which describes our present deputies as poor and dependent; since, instead of being hired, like their predecessors, they come together from all parts of France, even the most distant, to attend, perhaps for five years successively, the sessions of the Chamber, and to live at their own expence in the capital.
“ But this matter is not left to vague inference. Open the list of the deputies: one glance will shew you, that it contains the first names and the largest fortunes in France ; you will find distinguished men of all classes ; former and present ministers, members of the preceding assemblies, and, by the side of some emigrants, long since honourably re-established in their fortunes, a crowd of persons, who have never quitted France, who, already distinguished by public confidence, had before, as well as since, the Restoration, held prefectures, presided in councils general, or in courts of justice, or served in the army. Does any thing, in all this, announce a choice blind, or thoughtless, or humiliating to France? Is there any thing in it, which menaces the interests of society; any thing which indicates either avarice, or dependence, or indigence ready for sale?
“ The idle insinuation, which you hear thrown out, for the purpose of discreditin; such national representatives, only proves the rancour of certain persons, who cannot make them bow and cringe to them; who see, that a similar Chamber will reject those amalgamations, those half measures, those pusillanimous precautions, which have so lamentably prolonged our misfortunes ; that it will not adopt, from confidence, either prejudices, or injustice ; that it will oppose, with all its power, (since the revolution is and ought to be at an end, now that the charter has maintained all that could be preserved,) the obstinate folly of governing in a revolutionary manner, by revolutionary laws, with revolutionary men.
“ To recur to the supposed want of property, with which the deputies are reproached: Either this suggestion comes from the interior of France, or from England; it from the first, it is the very height of impudence: facts proving directly the reverse are before the eyes of all. All, as I have already said, all have it in their power to compare deputies, who come to sacrifice their income, for the expence of this august mission, with those, who, during so long a period, made it the means of a livelihood ; deputies, who demand nothing, with those who wish to add to the wealth which they had accumulated, nobility which they had abolished, titles which they had extinguished, and decorations which they had proscribed. Do not, however, mistake me for a prejudiced enemy of our former representative bodies. I do not speak of them without recollecting, that there always have been, and especially in the latter years, many honourable exceptions.
“ 'But perhaps this notion, of the poverty of our deputies, may have originated in England, from a mere ignorance of the real state of facts. If so, it is easily corrected; you must, however, advert to one or two peculiar considerations :
“1. Fortunes, in France, are not to be measured by the same scale as in England ; not only because they are more equally divided with us, than with you ; but because
ciency. So far from the ministry and than enough to do, in the task, which the Chamber being seen to unite their every day became a more necessary strength in destroying the vestiges of one, of repressing within some limits all ideas introduced by the revolution, the extravagant royalism of the Chamthe ministry soon found they had more ber. Nay, it was no secret that the
the prices of all the common articles of expence are so much higher, on your side of the water.
“ 2. The prevalent species of property is different in the two countries. The territorial wealth of England is, perhaps, as an element of private property, by no means equal to that, which she derives from the commerce of the whole world, from the immense revenues of India and the colonies, from the incalculable resources of the public funds, and from all the credit, all the spirit, which result from such means of rendering capital productive. With the exception of the peerage, which, in England, is wisely
connected with the great masses of landed property, (the only means of gia ring to that grand institution all the stability, and all the preponderance, which it ought to have, for the benefit of the constitution,) other fortunes may rest on a different foundation : and since almost all the taxes are indirect, being levied on the consumption of articles, for the most part imported, the nation has no interest, in being exclusively represented by landed proprietors, in the House of Commons. On the contrary, the elector has a wider field of choice, and is sure to find elsewhere, if not in his own neighbourhood, the rate of fortune which he approves. In France, on the contrary, landed property is almost the whole. It pays directly, in ordinary times, the greatest part of the taxes; and even the indirect contributions, being mostly assessed upon the productions of the soil, fall at last on the landed proprietor. It is a necessary consequence of such a state of things, that the land-owner should find himself most naturally called on, to defend the rights of property, and to oppose taxation.
“Notwithstanding these strong motives for preferring a land owner, even to a more wealthy proprietor of a different class, yet, in no part of France, are the electors under the necessity of choosing persons of a fortune below independence. If such circumstances occurred at the height of the Revolution, they were the result of that unnatural and forced species of equality, under cover of which, more than one pauper raised himself to opulence. According to the actual proportion, then, bea tween France and England, I am warranted in believing, that the income, which qualifies a member for a seat in the House of Commons, is not comparatively higher than that which, in France, yields a direct contribution of 1000 francs. If it be still insisted, that this rate is insufficient, (although all the world knows that there was no qualification whatever required for candidates before 1814,) 1 answer, that the members are no more limited in France than in England, to pay exactly the legal quota of taxes. They may, and they do exceed it; and, in fact, there is not one single deputy, whose income is so small, as that required for a qualification in Enga land; but there are numbers much richer, and that in a large progression.
“ I think I have sufficiently proved, that the present Chamber of Deputies is independent, in point of fortune ; and it must surely be allowed, that in giving their services to the public gratuitously, they set a laudable example to the holders of many other places, which, previously to the Revolution, used also to be gratuitous, although they are not so at present.
“ It is unnecessary for me to intrude on your time, by detailing at length the Ineasures adopted in this calumniated Chamber. Only I cannot help observing, that if it had been true that the members were all plundered emigrants, they would have exhibited singular merit in their moderation ; since they not only swore to, but maintained, that charter, which legitimated their spoliation—they not only accepted, but faithfully served that representative government, which those who accuse them of ultra-royalism are labouring to overturn."