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Ir is said that the Dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies. has at length been resolved upon. I congratulate France upon it. An opportunity is offered to her to pronounce herself upon her destiny. If henceforth she is not free, she may thank herself for her slavery. She will have spontaneously sanctioned it; she will have given herself up to it of her own free will; and, whatever may be the yoke imposed upon her, she will have no right to complain.
No doubt the career which the determination of the Government will present to her will be beset with many difficulties, and probably strewed with some snares.
Opinion, which when a popular election is the subject, ought, more than in any other circumstances, to enjoy an entire independence, has no means of making itself known, no organ to announce itself.
The persons of all the citizens are by law at the mercy of Ministers. I do not enquire if the Ministers abuse this power:
When a law exists, obedience to that law becomes a duty, and I should be always the first to exhort citizens to obedience; but at the same time that we obey we are allowed to ask what a law is; and those, above all others, have not the right of imposing silence upon us, who whilst the ancient law of elections was in force, heaped contempt, blame, and invective, upon it. I am not, therefore, afraid of overstepping the bounds of legal liberty by saying, that every law of exception directed against the legal liberty of individuals, is in opposition to all the principles guaranteed by the Charter, to every principle invoked by France before the Revolution in 1789, and which that Revolution has caused to be forgotten When the Parliament of Paris, in a decree of the 3rd May, 1788, declared "That the right of each citizen, a right without which all others are useless, was, not to be arrested by any order whatever, without being immediately brought before the
they possess it, and that is sufficient for all liberty to be suspended. This is not all-private correspondence, the object of respect in all free nations, has been seen taken by force from the legitimate possessors. Agents without legal authority have been seen penetrating the sanctuary of their domicile. The police has been seen giving orders and instructions to agents, which it has disavowed, and after having assumed the place of justice for its acts, has shielded itself behind justice for impunity."
competent judge," certainly the nation, who applauded this declaration of its Magistrates, did not expect that in 1820 every citizen could be arrested by the order of three Ministers without being brought before any judge.
I have informed the Public, by the publication of authentic documents, to what degree all forms had been violated in the domiciliary visits, and the carrying away papers, performed by order of M. Mounier, amongst the citizens of the Department of "la Sarthe." The Director General of the Police attempted to reply to the facts I have alleged. It will be seen how far he has succeeded.
He says, through the Moniteur, that the agent he sent was not the bearer of any order from him. It has been proved that the only authority of this agent was an order signed Mounier.
He said, that his agent had no further direction than to assist the competent Magistrate, whose duty it was, by the 87th and 90th articles of the Code of criminal instruction, to read the papers. It is proved, that his agent himself examined and read these papers, the Magistrate present taking no part therein, and that he marked them. There is no one of these acts which is not a usurpation of power.
M. Mounier said, through the Moniteur, that the instructions of the police had no other object than to further the ends of justice. It is proved that the police put itself in the place of justice-that justice was merely a spectator that every thing was begun, executed, and concluded, by the police, in contempt of the law.
M. Mounier says, in the Moniteur, that no letters were unsealed or intercepted, that only open letters were seized. It is proved that sealed letters were sent back by the post-office clerks to the Magistrates, whom M. Mounier's agent had in his train.
He says, in the Moniteur, that all the papers were in the hands of Justice. It is proved that his wish was, that they should be in the hands of his agent. It is proved that it is not his fault if this fresh illegality was not committed; for he gave orders to that effect. It is proved in fact, that the sending these papers to the Minister of Justice was but another irregularity. This Minister has no right to constitute himself the depositary of any paper which might give rise to criminal instructions. This is the intention of article 3rd of the law of the 10th Vendemiaire, year 4th, and of article 81st of the Senatus-Consultum of the 16th Thermidor, in the year 10.
It must not be thought that the illegalities committed or ordered by M. Mounier are confined to la Sarthe, whose Deputies are perhaps obnoxious to him, and whose papers appear to him proper to be seized. The Director General of the police did not treat with more respect, the Departments which had not the same claims to his dislike.
The papers reported at the same time, that towards the end of last June, the Civil Authority thought they had discovered at M. Tirel's, a manufacturer at Vire, a depôt of uniforms which might serve to disguise the malevolent characters concerned in some conspiracy, and that on examination it
Thus by the very confession of the Ministry, it is under the
turned out that these uniforms were the clothes of the workmen belonging to M. Tirel's manufactory, many of which were for boys of eight or nine years old. But in relating the fact, every one after his own way, the papers have omitted many other things.
At the time of the visit made to M. Tirel's, on the 21st June, who was then at Paris, the Magistrates, who were accompanied by many police agents armed with sticks, refused to show him any written authority proving either their mission or their character.
For the purpose of introducing themselves to M. Tirel's apartment, this troop forced a woman (the gate-keeper) to go with them half naked, and one of the agents replied to the complaints which decency forced from this woman, notwithstanding her fright, we know all about a woman.
This visit was extended to the other lodgers in the same house, some of whom, attracted towards M. Tirel's apartment by the noise, were ransacked by the police agents, others had their doors forced without notice or judicial authority, and many were in fact kept prisoners and prevented from going out about their business, some a longer, some a shorter time.
It was neither the Judge of Instruction, nor the King's Attorney General, who took charge exclusively, as they ought to have done agreeably to the 87th article of the Code of Instruction, of the examination of the merchant's papers whose habitation they had ransacked. The papers, thrown into confusion, taken away by force, and distributed at hazard to whomsoever might think proper to seize them, were given up to the inspection of all the police agents indiscriminately.
As the Sieur Pascal had done, at Mans, these agents reduced the magistrates to perform the part of mere passive spectators. In the presence of the Judge of Instruction, and the King's Attorney General, a Commissary of the Police was the most active investigator and the most minute questioner. Armed with discoveries which he thought resulted from documents which he ought not to have examined, he put questions to M. Tirel which he ought not to have done in the presence of the Judges, whose business it was to have interrupted him. Discovering, for example, that this merchant had formerly made deposits of money at Lafitte's, the Commissary took upon himself to ask the object of those deposits.
It was this same Commissary who examined letters found in the apartment of a neighbour of M. Tirel's, whose door was broke open.
It was also he who, when a friend of M. Tirel's went to him to learn the cause of these strange proceedings, made this stranger undergo fresh interrogatories.
Another Commissary of the Police went to a merchant, to whom M. Tirel sent his cloth, and furnished with an order from the Judge of Instruction, proceeded to interrogate a man of whom he had no right to ask a question; for the order itself was illegal, as the Judge of Instruction has no authority to delegate his power.
What was done at Paris was also done at Vire, with this difference however, that they read to M. Tirel, the father, the requisition of M. Bellart, authorising the search, examination, and seizure, of the account books, correspondence, family documents, and title deeds. I shall not recite all the detail; it is not a memorial for M. Tirel, I am writing. It is sufficient for me to prove, that in the department of the Seine, as in that of Calvados, in Calvados as in Sarthe, the police always acted, in order to shelter itself at length behind justice, which ought to have acted by itself; for M. Moumier informs M. Tirel, as well as M. Goyet, in answer to their applications,
empire of a dictatorship' that they make an appearance of consulting France. It is a gagged people whom they invite to give their opinion. Censors, such as never existed under any Revolutionary or Despotic Government; Censors who, strange to say, are not anonymous, have, with the certainty of being discovered, the incredible fidelity to alter the authentic papers delivered to them; they suppress not only opinions but facts, they command
that this affair belonged to the King's Attorney General, and refused him, in consequence, any explanation or satisfaction.
One circumstance worthy of remark is, that many journals whose opinions one can guess at, having profited by the searches made at M. Tirel's, in order to prove that miners' uniforms had actually been found at his house, and to give all due gravity to this affair, a Liberal Journal thought it was able to take up the defence of this merchant without saying any thing besides, on the charge of which he was the subject: "All we can at present say," such was the modest and reserved tone of this Editor, "is that the manufacturer, on whom suspicion rests, is a man generally esteemed at Vire, where he has filled many honorable functions; that his great enterprises have for a long time been the happiness of the Country, and that even now he employs four or five hundred workmen, who love and revere him as a father." Surely this passage contained nothing seditious in it, it prejudged nothing. The Censorship struck it out. It had allowed insinuations which might do a merchant an irreparable injury, and has refused a few lines of praise which only spoke of past facts, and which were calculated to render these perfidious insinuations less hurtful.
'The Journal de Paris, which is known to be the ministerial sub-journal, says expressly: Dictatorship is always the offspring of licentiousness. Fortunately for the factions this dictatorship is mild and gentle. (Number of the 5th September, 1820.) I do not here enquire either into its mildness or its gentleness, I take an account of the fact. The Ministry exercises a Dictatorship, and it is under the weight of a Dictatorship that the nation is called upon to exercise its first right.
To alter authentic papers appears a very great irregularity, wherefore I think myself called upon to prove it. The following is the fact, just as it happened not long ago.-The Moniteur, in answer to a letter which I and one of my colleagues signed, asserts that I refused to give justice the information she required. I send to a Newspaper, not an article written at the moment, but a letter previously sent by me to the Judge of Instruction, consequently an authentic document, which would appear in a process, if a process were instituted. In this letter is the following passage: There are other facts, of which I expected to have been asked for an explanation; for instance, the signed letters, containing proofs of the excesses which took place in the street Neuve-Saint-Denis. The silence you observe, Sir, upon this important point, &c. &c. This passage shows clearly that so far from refusing information, I had offered it, and that the refusal of which the Moniteur endeavours to take advantage, did not relate to information but to the name of a citizen who would, perhaps, have been punished for having spoken of a report, which, perhaps, also it was not wished should be known. What did the Censorship do? It struck out this passage; it has therefore altered, not an article or a letter to an Editor, but an authentic document. The Censorship has done more: it has permitted other papers to take advantage of this mutilation of a legal document, it has allowed one of them to speak of the famous letter by which M. B. Constant, to prove that he had not refused any informa
imposture,' sanction attack, interdict defence, authorise calum
tion to justice, declared, that he would only give it them when they had no further occasion for it. To alter documents and take advantage of these alterations constitutes, as appears to me, the first and last half of a thing very clearly designated in the Penal Code.
The reader has certainly not forgotten the order given by the Censorship to all the papers, to relate the death of young Lallemande, agreeably to the Quotidienne, because the Censorship thought fit to consider this account more probable than the rest, and this account was a calumny ou the deceased. This circular of the Censorship assumes a natural air which is precious, and which it is to be regretted is not found in its subsequent acts. At present it orders much, but it writes little, and carefully prohibits the publication of what it writes; warned, as it is by sad experience, that in certain professions we have no worse exposers than ourselves.
2 One of the artifices of the Censorship and of the papers which repay in flattery the insults it allows them to offer to others, is to assert with admirable boldness, that replies are allowed provided they contain nothing contrary to religion, morals, the Monarchy, or the Charter, (M. Simeon's words in his speech on the introduction of the law of Censorship.) The Journal de Paris derides, for example, the lamentations on poor M. Keratry, who in a defenceless state is delivered up to his enemies armed at all points. (Number of the 6th September, 1820.) Who would think, according to that, that these lamentations are any thing less than founded? The following, however, are the facts. M. Keratry has been twice attacked in the same Journal de Paris, in the most unjust and perfidious manner; (Numbers of 31st August, and 3rd September,) his accounts have been contested, and his phrases perverted, I was inclined to defend M. Keratry, not in his person or intentions, (he has no need of this,) but in his assertions and arguments. I sent the following article to a Journal, and I have in my possession the prohibition of the Censorship.
"The Journal de Paris, in a long article against M. Keratry, argues in a way which indicates a man very certain that he could not be answered, or, that if he were answered, it would be on such conditions and with such impediments that he would be sure to gain a victory over his gagged enemy. Thus we shall confine ourselves to copying his phrases, simply asking him some humble questions. When we set down serenades and street music to the accounts of the Representative Government, have we a right to complain on its account, of the hooting of boys and the incivilities of a porter? a sick deputy, unable to walk, surrounded and detained by clubs raised over his head; another seized by the collar and thrown down, and a third followed in his coach; are these hootings and incivilities? If we are not inclined to take notice of such facts, have we a right to complain of street music and serenades? Ill formed minds find the victory of the left side somewhat grotesque, and carry their impertinence so far as to say, that the world would go on quite as well if M. Guilhem had had a few dishes less, and MM. Bellart and Bourdeau a few more peaceable nights."
"We should evry much disapprove of every thing that may have disturbed the rest of Messrs. Bellart and Bourdeau, and to express our censure we shall only wait the proof that the facts are not invented or much exaggerated; a proof which does not result from the measures taken (for dismissals and disarmings are not proofs); but the result of the instructions that have been announced. But what have the excesses against Messrs. Bellart and Bourdeau to do with the testimony of satisfaction given by M. Guilhem? What is there grotesque in these evidences of satisfaction?