« AnteriorContinuar »
which, the executive government shall be conducted in the King's name and behalf, devolves upon the great Council of Parliament,' understanding by that phrase the two houses of Parliament without the King, or some one to represent his person. Mr Hallam’s mistake arises from his not adverting to the fact, that the Parliament which met at the accession of Henry Vith, was a full and complete Parliament, being held by the Duke of Gloucester, under a commission from the Great Seal.
Mr Hallam's last chapter contains a variety of miscellaneous information on the state of society in Europe in the middle ages. It is full of curious and entertaining matter, but obviously incapable of abridgement.
Art. VI. Lyon en Mil Huit Cent Dix-Sept. Par le COLONEL
FABvier, ayant fait les Fonctions de Chef de l'Etat Major du Lieutenant du Roi dans les 7me et 19me Divisions Militaires. Paris. Delaunay, 1818.
his little tract is full of interest to those who read for mere
amusement; and it is calculated to convey much useful instruction to the government of every country, which either is, or, from sinister views, is represented to be, in a disturbed state. We regard it as teaching a most valuable lesson to those who are at the head of affairs in France : -and it is very melancholy to add, that it may not be thrown away upon the rulers of our own country, where no such excuses are to be found for rashly charging the people with disaffection, and treating them as traitors, because one set of men are alarmed at nothing, and another have an interest in pretending to be so.
It is well known, that, in the course of the last summer, serious discontents existed in the city of Lyons and its neighbourbood. These feelings broke out into acts of open violence. Many examples were made; the jails were filled with prisoners; the cours prevótales were busily occupied; the publick functionaries were incessant in their pursuit of delinquents.
inquents. All that transpired of the effects of these proceedings, was the increase of the evil-although the disturbed districts exhibited the imposing appearance of a most active and indefatigable government, bent upon investigation and punishment. The government having, for a considerable time, been misled by the usual false statements of the local authorities, and perceiving, at last, that there were gross errors committed somewhere, resolved, most judiciously, to send an officer of high rank to the spot, and arm him with the fullest powers. Equally happy was the selection
of Marshal Marmont, Duke of Ragusa-an officer who possessed the confidence of the king, and well merited that of both the army and the country. Colonel Fabvier accompanied him as chief of his staff. The result of his mission, was the almost immediate restoration of tranquillity; and, although the importance of this result would have amply justified the publication of an account of the measures by which it was brought about, it seems that our author has been still further called upon to describe them by the recent revival of the calumnies against the people of Lyons, with the addition of others equally gross against Marmont, under the sanction of a respectable authority in the French Legislature. He observes, that the Marshal is precluded, by his situation, from addressing the publick upon this subject. We may add, that neither he, nor the questions discussed, have lost any thing by the task devolving upon Colonel Fabvier, who tells his story in plain and distinct language, and with an air of honesty calculated to make a deep impression on every reader. « Pour moi, qui, dans cette mission, ai rempli près de lui les fonctions de chef d'état major, je crois faire une chose utile et honorable en cédant au désir que j'éprouve de repousser une attaque injuste. Je cède d'ailleurs au besoin, mille fois plus pressant encore pour un Français ami de son pays, d'empêcher que l'opinion ne s'égare sur les véritables causes de l'horrible tragédie qui a terrifié et ensanglanté une contrée toute entière ; de dire à la France que cette population respectable et digne d'un si grand intérêt, que ces anciens militaires dénoncés à la justice nationale, n'ont mérité d'être signalés que par la résignation avec laquelle ils ont supporté les persécutions dont on les a accablés ; que, si quelques-uns se sont laissé prendre aux piéges qui leur étaient tendus, l'immense majorité n'a pas cessé d'être patriote, amie de l'ordre et de la paix ; je cède enfin à l'esperance que le tableau de ce qui s'est fait, en démasquant les artisans de nos malheurs, pourra les faire renoncer désormais à leurs coupables projets, ou empêcher du moins qu'ils ne trouvent encore une fois des dupes ou des victimes.
In order rightly to comprehend this history, it is necessary to recollect, that the disturbed district had been much divided by party. Buonaparte having always been extremely popular at Lyons, as soon as the restoration of the Bourbons brought back to office the Royalist, or rather Ultra-Royalist functionaries whom his return in 1815 had displaced, they found themselves engaged in administering the powers of a very unpopular government; and probably contracted no little dislike, in their turn, for the people over whom they were set. Part
ly from a sincere desire to gratify this feeling, and partly from that love of activity and vigour which always distinguishes local magistrates, they never ceased to court all occasions of exerting their authority, and to represent their department as in a state of disaffection bordering upon actual rebellion. A very imimportant riot which happened on the 8th of June at Lyons, had been magnified by these calm observers into a horrible conspiracy, deeply planned, and powerfully armed with resources for overthrowing the government, and delivering up the country to massacre and pillage. The English reader will at once recognise the language of our own secret committees in the following passage, descriptive of the fabulous accounts transmitted by some of the most silly and hot-brained of mankind, the Ultra-Royalist Functionaries, to the French ministry. Numerous bodies' (they said) • were organized in every direction; arms were distributed to them; considerable sums of money were provided and set apart for their pay; they had bold and enterprising leaders; and this was only one of the ramifications of an immense plan' (we believe Lord Sidmouth's word was vast) · which embraced not merely the neighbouring departments, but the whole of France.' Here the Gallican reporters, we must confess, go a step beyond our own in the wildness of their imaginations, or the acumen of their sense for seeing plots, and tracing their mutual connexions. It seems, ' they add, that these movements are combined with the conspiracy at Lisbon, and the revolution in the Brazils !' (p. 5.) In vain did the facts of the case bear irrefragable testimony to the utter falsehood of all these fables. No armed bodies of men were seen; twenty Gensdarmes and a few chasseurs, had sufficed to keep all quiet, and to restore tranquillity wherever it was interrupted for & moment; no movement had taken place; no member of the pretended directing committee been found; a few wretched peasants only had been seized in their villages, disposed to turbulence, but without chiefs, concert, or any determinate object. All this was unable to check the career of the magistrates and their creatures. Whoever chuses to say a plot exists, may persist in Iris assertion in spite of all negative evidence: For he has only to repeat that it is a plot, and of course a secret one; and though it has not yet been discovered, it is indubitably on the very point of explosion. Accordingly, with a single exception (a magistrate of tried and unquestioned loyalty), the whole of the constituted authorities maintained their statement, by daily. adding new details of disaffection and conspiracy. Nor was their zeal for the public pence only shown in propagating perpetual stories af its being broken; they scoured the country in all directions to arrest suspected persons; the cours prevôtales united their efforts, and multiplied executions without mercy; an inflamed soldiery was let loose upon the inhabitants of the country, treating each place like a town taken by storm; terror everywhere prevailed to the uttermost degree ;—and there was at last reason to apprehend a real revolt, from the effects of such exasperating treatment upon the spirit of a peaceful bat gallant people.
At this juncture, Marshal Marmont arrived in Lyons; and his first difficulty arose from the clouds of misrepresentation through which he was obliged to view every thing. For the statements of all persons in office, except onc, agreed, with a marvellors uniformity, in painting the situation of the districts as next to rebellious; and they detailed a multitude of particular facts, scarcely possible to resist, in support of their accounts ; -openly accusing of sinister views the only one of their number who differed from them, and offering apparently conclusive proofs of the charge. For a moment there seemed no possibility of doubting at least the general truth of their representations; and a minister at a distance, who only received such uniform accounts, and could not see with his own eyes, (or a secret committee who obtained inforination from the minister), would hardly have been justified in questioning their accuracy. But as soon as the Marshal went out of the circle of the constituted authorities, conversed with the most respectable individuals of all classes, examined himself every proceeding, especially of the Prevotal Courts, and saw plainly all that had been done by some and suffered by others, the facts appeared in their true colours; and the causes of the miserable state into which Lyons was plunged could no longer be concealed from his view. Let the English reader ponder well the following passage, in which the chief of those causes is described; and if it brings unpleasant reflexions to his mind--it, instead of renewing his indignation at the arts practised last year, it should smite him with a consciousness that he suffered himself to be deluded by the fabrications of our plot-mongers, and under that influence to join in wounding the liberties of his country, let him atone for his error by firmly resolving in future always to watch the ministers with redoubled jealousy when they set themselves about accusing the people of disaffection.
La ville de Lyon et les communes qui l'entourent avaient vu renaître pour elles le régime de 1793. Comme alors, les hommes qui avaient le pouvoir proclamaient que la terreur seule pouvait le faire respecter, et n'agissaient que trop bien en conséquence de ce principe; comme alors, la haine avait pris la place de la justice, et tous les moyens paraissaient légitimes pour écraser ceux qu'on regardait
comme des ennemis. Dans ces derniers temps, on ne frappait les victimes qu'après les avoir trompées, et la violence n'était que le dernier terme des combinaisons les plus révoltantes.
Une foule d'agens parcouraient la ville et les campagnes, s'introduisaient dans les cabarets et jusque dans les maisons particulières, y prenaient le rôle d'un mécontent, exhalaient les plaintes les plus vives contre l'autorité, annonçaient des changemens, des revolutions ; et s'ils arrachaient un signe d'approbation à de malheureux citoyens pressés par la misère, ou tourmentés par mille vexations, ils s'empressaient d'aller les dénoncer et recueillir le prix de leurs infâmes stratagèmes.
Les procédures de la cour prévôtale ont attesté l'emploi de ces moyens odieux, mais l'excès même avec lequel on s'y livrait les a bientốt rendus publics': chacune des autorités ayant ses moyens de police à part, à chaque instant ces vils instrumens se rencontraient sans se connaître, s'attaquaient avec une égale ardeur, et bientôt le moins diligent, dénoncé par l'autre, expiait un moment sous les verroux son infamie. Il fallait alors décliner sa mission : l'autorité intervenait pour réclamer son agent ; le prisonnier disparaissait, et allait ailleurs chercher une nouvelle proie, ou préparer un nouveau scandale.
• A l'aide de ces nombreux délateurs, les prisons regorgeaient de victimes entassées avec un tel désordre, que la lecture seule des registres d'écrou prouvait à quel point était porté le mépris des lois et de l'humanité : indépendamment de celles que la procédure ordinaire plaçait sous la main de la cour prévôtale, on voyait encore dans les caves de l'hôtel de ville, des centaines de malheureux, victimes de vaines terreurs ou de funestes conseils ; et là, ces malheureux, privés de tous soins comme de tout secours, attendaient pendant des mois entiers la faveur d'être interrogés; et tel, qui ne l'a été qu'au bout de quatre-vingt-deux jours, a fini par être acquitté : l'arbitraire était porté dans toutes les parties de l'administration. Les autorités municipales prenaient des arrêtés contraires aux lois, et condamnaient à l'emprisonnement pour des faits qu'aucune loi ne considère comme des délits.' p. 8–10.
Thus far the cases of our own Home Department and that of France are nearly parallel ; but the local magistracy of Lyons, it must be confessed, carried their vigour a little further than our most active dealers in plot dared, with the rigours of parliamentary inquiry awaiting them.
• Des colonnes mobiles parcouraient les campagnes, imposaient arbitrairement telle commune à leur fournir, non pas seulement des vivres qui ne leur étaient pas dus, mais des effets d'habillement.
Des détachemens chargés de protéger de cruelles exécutions ont ajouté à l'horreur de ce spectacle, en insultant, en maltraitant les femmes et les enfans que la terreur n'avaient pas fait fuir de leur domicile, l'épouse qu'on venait de rendre veuve, la mère dont on venait de frapper l'enfant.
Et lorsqu'un cri d'indignation générale a forcé de livrer les cour