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ceedings quite sure that they were not themselves prepared to go further? Can they sincerely say that they would then have received a proposition for suspending jury trial in cases of seditious and blasphemous libel, with the same abhorrence with which they now regard the institution of Cours prévótales ? Are they quite certain that they could have had nothing to say in behalf of a more free use of the military, and of measures for disarming the people, and of course searching for arms ? Had those measures been adopted, and an indemnity asked, should we have heard nothing of the praiseworthy vigour' of ministers; their disinterested conduct in undertaking the respon
sibility; ' the extraordinary aspect of the times; 'the pain'ful but paramount necessity of putting down so vast a con
spiracy by all means'? But we devoutly trust that such times may never recur; and that the lesson taught the people of the dangers of credulity, will long remain deeply impressed upon their minds. We shall therefore pass on to what remains of the French story, resembling our own all along in many of its most remarkable features.
Before the movement of the 8th of June, several reports had prevailed of an approaching explosion; and at each time that it was anno
nounced, some government spy or agent was arrested as concerned. This happened in November and December. ' In February,' says Colonel Fabvier, the agitation of • the public mind increased with the distress of the labouring
classes, who were in a state to receive easily the impressions sought to be given to them. This was the period when secret
enrolments of men were talked of.'-A person was now arrested as concerned in these enrolments; he did not deny his guiltbut he was found to be an agent of the military police, and as such set at liberty. In the month of May another agent was taken in the act of encouraging revolt; but being claimed by the police, he too escaped; and our author remarks, that each arrest of an emissary was followed by the restoration of perfect calm. At length came the 8th of June, answering exactly to our own 11th June of the same year; for it was described as the grand explosion of a conspiracy which embraced all France in its ramifications, and was to overthrow the government from its foundation.—Lyons was announced as its centre. Yet, certain it is, that nothing whatever happened there, not even the seizure of any one person in arms, except a labourer going out of the gate leading to a quarter never accused of being concerned in the sedition. Of all the communes in the neighbourhood said to be deeply engaged in the plot, only eleven sounded the Tocsin; and of these, four are so situated as to have no possible communica
only a very
· Le moyen
tion with the other. Not more than 250 men assembled in all; of these, only fifty had any arms, none of them any ammunition, and many of them thought they were called out to extinguish a fire! Even this trifling corps never assembled together, and
few from two of the communes, left their own neighbourhood to go to Lyons; in all the others the mob dispersed itself, after making some seditious outeries and some trifling riots, which did not cost a single life. Colonel Fabvier justly charges the local authorities with the blame of this riot, such as it was; for they did nothing to prevent it; and their own agents were among its most active instigators.
Even after the 8th of June, those pestiferous wretches continued their incessant activity; yet, to the infinite credit of the loyal and peaceable inhabitants, all their attempts to create insurrection failed. Again we beg the attention of the English reader to the account given of those attempts. He will thus perceive that human nature is everywhere the same, if, indeed, it is not a libel upon our species so to term the nature of those miscreants. • le plus fréquemment employé, et le plus dangereux sans doute, 'était d'indiquer des points de ralliement, de répandre le bruit
d'une conspiration générale, de placer à sa tête des généraux • renommés par leur bravoure et par la haine qu'on leur sup
pose contre le gouvernement actuel.' Marshal Marmont happily arrived during the progress of these attempts, on the part of the magistrates, to carve out work for themselves, and to produce movements beneficial to their Ultra-Royalist patrons. He came without any troops ; he never used a single threat of military execution; far less did he ever make the least show of force; and immediately every thing became quiet, and has continued so without interruption to the present day.
Our author gives some curious but melancholy particulars of the judicial proceedings, if the Cours Prévôtales can be deemed tribunals of justice, which arose out of the riots on the 8th of June. Two hundred and fifty persons in all had assembled, and sixty only were armed. Yet, of these, above 110 were condemned to various severe punishments, as the authors or ringleaders of the sedition! Our author points out many instances of the most glaring illegality in these proceedings, and compares them to the condemnations en masse of the reign
of terror. The steps taken by Marshal Marmont for restoring tranquillity close this tract; and they cannot be too highly praised.
Les prémiers soins du maréchal ont été de faire cesser l'arbitraire, et de rendre aux lois la force qu'elles avaient perdue, de faire tous ses efforts pour rapprocher ce qu'on avait affecté d'isoler, calmer les esprits qu'on avait exaspérés, former des réunions faites pour représenter la ville et non une faction, rendre à tous une justice égale, tendre aux malheureux une main secourable.
Il a fallu ensuite inspirer aux persécuteurs une crainte utile, donner quelque satisfaction aux persécutés ; pour cela, huit maires ont été suspendus de leurs fonctions, et six officiers ont été renvoyés. Le gouvernement a sanctionné ces mésures. Les maires ont été définitivement révoqués, et les six officiers renvoyés dans leurs foyers.
Il n'en a pas coûté davantage pour rétablir le calme; de nouvelles autorités le maintiennent, et se feront bénir par une population paisible.' p. 28, 29.
It is only doing justice to add, that the King, as soon as he became acquainted with the truth, extended his royal mercy towards all the unfortunate persons whose sentences had not been already executed.
In the course of this article, we have taken occasion to remind the reader of the similar transactions which, about the same time, afflicted, though in an inferior degree, our own country. It is very painful to reflect upon those disgraceful scenes. Whoever feels for the honour of the nation, must look back upon them with a mingled sentiment of indignation and shame. It seemed as if we were a people so extremely ready to believe whatever was told in a mysterious way; so apt to take fright at the first rumour of danger; and so very careless of the invaluable Constitution which we are always eager enough to hold up as our proudest distinction, that the moment a riot broke out in a county town, and a few magistrates told the Secretary of State there was a plot hatching, we grew sick of law and liberty, and desired to seek for shelter from some uncertain danger, in the certain mischief and degradation of a despotic government. The most unworthy arguments were successfully used to quiet all scruples on this head. We were told that the absolute power entrusted to the ministers would, in all probability, not be abused; and Englishmen were found degenerate enough to consent no longer to hold the liberty which is their birthright, during life or good behaviour, but durante beneplacito of the servants of the Crown. Upon this humiliating picture of national delusion, we shall make no further remarks; for the country has long since completely recovered from it. But its origin deserves always to be held in remembrance, for the sake of example in after times, when similar devices may be resorted to. The ministers found themselves in jeopardy; the aspect of the times was lowering; and their own recorded imbecility had prepared, to all human appearance, their immediate downfal. The plot was invented to stay their fate; and, for a
season, the stratagem succeeded. But they know full well that this trick cannot prevail a second time. The people of England are never to be gulled twice with the same story. They might as well attempt to raise again the cry of No-popery, as of Conspiracy. By that they got, and by this they have kept their places; but some new scheme must be invented to maintain them for the future. Let the country, wise by the experience of the past, be on its guard against any such attempt to perpetuate, at the expense of its liberties, the mismanagement of its affairs.
ART. VII. Remarks on the recent State Trials, and the Rise
and Progress of Disaffection in this Country. By WILLIAM
Frith, Esq. Sergeant-at-Law. 8vo. London, 1818. A Bill of Rights and Liberties ; or an Act for a Constitutional
Reform of Parliament. By MAJOR CARTWRIGHT. 8vo. London, 1818.
sent moment peculiarly adapted to a calm and impartial survey of the state of political parties in this country. The change from war to peace has naturally altered the relations between certain classes of statesmen, by terminating several most important questions, and removing some of the most serious grounds of party hostility. The same transition has, in other points of view, raised new grounds of political distinction, or strengthened those which already existed. It has also materially varied the course of publick opinion, and either opened the eyes of the people to the delusions under which they laboured, both with respect to their own interests and the views of their political leaders, or new-moulded those interests, and changed those views. Again, the progress of knowledge among all classes of the community has begun to produce its effects upon the aspect of publick affairs. In no period of our history has the good sense of the country been more tried by arbitrary measures on the one hand, and by extravagant violence on the other :-and at no time has a more rational conduct been observed, in spite of all efforts to mislead. Every one may now be satisfied, that popular confidence can only be gained by such a line of conduct as clearly shows that the true interests of the nation are its ruling object. The scrambles for power among a few great families are no longer to be dignified with the title of party differences; whoever would attain preeminence, must take the high ground of publick principle; the
voice of the community must be heard—its sense consulted; and statesmen must mingle with their party discussions a perpetual appeal to the undeniable interests and strong feelings of a well informed and inquiring nation. The events of the last two or three months, but especially the evidence of sound popular sentiments evinced during the late General Election, may be stated as another and a most decisive reason for pausing at the present moment, to observe and to note the situation of the country, with reference to the parties that divide its inhabitants. But as no subject has been productive of more erroneous and ignorant assertion than the use and object of party connexions, we shall first endeavour to clear the way, by stating the true principle of such unions.
When a number of men associate themselves from a general agreement in political opinion, and pursue in one body a certain course of measures, it is extremely common to hear them accused of various crimes. If they attack the government of the day, they are by its friends stigmatized as disloyal
, by aid of the established sophism which confounds the sovereign with his councillors,—the constitution with the ministry of the day. By the people, they are apt to be regarded as prosecuting their own interests; and only desirous of changing the present servants of the Crown, to take their places. Even the more thinking classes of the community, unconnected with government, are apt to see something factious in a systematic opposition; it seems as if men, and not measures, were the criterion of praise or blame; as if the
the same propositions, which they now most loudly condemn, were they but made by their own chiefs. The common question is, Are the ministers always in the wrong? And an inference is thus drawn by those who say they retain the unbiassed exercise of their own judgment, that there is almost as great a sacrifice of conscience in always agreeing with an opposition, as in constantly supporting a minister. It is the interest, and the never-failing practice of the government, to encourage such notions ;--the minister has no better friends than those who rail at all party as an interested and factious league of place-hunters or zealots--nor any more useful resources than in the number of well-meaning and not very clearsighted persons, who, from tender consciences, or perhaps from the vanity of always thinking for themselves
, keep aloof from party connexion as unprincipled and degrading.
Another charge against party, arises out of the coalitions which, from time to time, are framed between men of different political connexions, who have once been opposed to each other. No more fruitful source can be assigned of the preju: slices which have been conceived against various parties, and of